OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 10 Fire and Explosion Hazards

Section 170 Hot taps

Section 1 of the OHS Code defines a hot tap as a process of penetrating through the pressure-containing barrier of a pipeline, line, piping system, tank, vessel, pump casing, compressor casing or similar facility that has not been totally isolated, depressurized, purged and cleaned.

Before hot tap work begins on an enclosure containing a flammable substance, the employer must develop procedures in a hot tap plan specific to the type or class of hot tap work that will be done. A unique hot tap plan is not required for each hot tap – the plan must be specific to the type or class of hot tap work. If a variety of hot taps all involve the same hazards, and all the hot tap equipment and procedures are identical, a single hot tap plan applicable to all the hot taps is acceptable. Only in the event of a unique work situation arising would a new or amended hot tap plan be required. Section 8 of the OHS Regulation requires that the hot tap procedures be in writing and available to workers.

The hot tap plan must include

(a) site hazard analysis,
(b) a description of the sequence of events,
(c) safety precautions to address the hazards, and
(d) an emergency response plan.

Workers performing hot tap work must be competent and trained in the procedures of the hot tap plan. The point in the pressure-containing barrier to be hot tapped must be strong enough to allow the hot tap to be done safely. There must be enough room to work safely, with exit routes available and their locations known to workers involved in the work.

Workers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment and there must be a method of shutting off material being supplied to the equipment being hot tapped if an emergency arises. The machine and fittings used to do the tapping must be of adequate design and capability and the pressure within the equipment being hot tapped must be reduced to as low as practical during the hot tap operation.

For more information
American Petroleum Institute, Recommended Practice 2201, Procedure for Welding or Hot Tapping on Equipment in Service.