Special Safety Considerations for Hot Tapping
By Vincent A. Carucci
The following highlights safety-related guidelines that should be
included in the detailed site-specific and application-specific hot tap
- Representatives of the process and mechanical departments,
inspection, and safety must agree on the methods and precautions to be
taken before starting the job.
- Confirm that the personnel performing the work have been advised
of and understand the required safety precautions.
- Identify foreseeable hazards and develop appropriate contingency
- Obtain the required work permits.
- Review and comply with local regulatory requirements.
- The proposed hot tap location should be indelibly marked on the
- If a crane is required to support the tapping machine, shut off
its motor during the cutting.
- Perform the cutting operation as soon as possible after the nozzle
has been welded, inspected, and pressure tested, to ensure that the
entire job is done under properly controlled conditions.
- Have a means to indicate that the nozzle and valve assembly has
successfully passed inspection and testing.
- A process safety watch is typically required when hot tapping.
Monitor process conditions for any variations that might be of
- A mechanical fire watch is typically required when the pipe being
hot tapped contains flammable material.
- Observe the surrounding area for any hydrocarbon releases.
- Notify the fire department to provide any needed standby fire
equipment and personnel.
- Minimize the operating pressure to the extent possible consistent
with maintaining operations.
- A plan for isolating the piping in an emergency should be
available. Review warning system and emergency shutdown plan.
- Ensure that personnel have suitable personal protective equipment.
- Ensure that there is a means for personnel to escape.
- Avoid performing other hot work in the vicinity while a hot tap is
being done. Restrict access by motorized vehicles, cranes, etc.
- Additional precautions are required if personnel will be working
in an excavation.