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Improving workplace safety for hot work employees

North Carolina residents employed in hot work are exposed to serious risks on a daily basis. This type of work involves any job where spark or fire-producing tools are used, such as welding, burning, brazing, grinding, cutting and soldering. Since this type of work sets off sparks, it's important that combustible or flammable materials be kept at a distance. There should also be no flammable gas leaks close to hot work equipment, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The types of dangers hot work employees face includes severe burns from explosions and fires. To prevent employees from suffering from burn injuries, OSHA suggests hot work employees have guards in place to keep sparks, slag, and heat limited to the area and protect fire hazards that can't be moved. The agency also recommends that hot work is performed safely away from existing fire hazards, especially where combustible or flammable vapors exist. It's also important that there is appropriate equipment to extinguish fires in case of an emergency event.

Grind-related injuries can happen when a worker's hand or fingers get caught within the grinding wheel, from sparks that originate from moving metal filings or when portable grinders strike them. To prevent these injuries from occurring, OSHA recommends that employees wear protective equipment, use fireguards and fire-extinguishing equipment, and inspect the grinders each time before they are used.

People who are injured on the job are in most cases eligible to file a claim forworkers' compensation benefits. These can include medical treatment and in some cases partial wage replacement. An attorney can often ensure that the claim is timely filed.

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