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Hot work and welding near explosive substances

This film alerts workers to the dangers of cutting, grinding or welding fuel and chemical containers.

It provides instructions on identifying what has previously been stored in empty containers, checking for residual gas or flammable liquids, correctly labeling containers as well as safety measures during hot work to protect workers and bystanders.

The process for hot work and welding near explosive substances should be part of an organisation's comprehensive safety management system. The process should include:

  • identifying and assessing risk
  • implementing suitable risk controls and reviewing them
  • developing safe work method statements
  • consulting with workers during the development of (and changes to) the safe work method
  • ensuring only trained and competent workers undertake the task.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 37MB)

A mechanic at a repair workshop was killed while welding a fuel tank on a ute.

The fuel tank was empty, but contained residual flammable substances and vapour. Sparks and heat from the welding ignited the flammable substances, causing the fuel tank to explode.

To stop this happening at your workplace, there are a few important things to remember when cutting, grinding or welding fuel or chemical containers.

First, the work should only be done by someone who has the experience, knowledge and skills to assess potential risks and perform the job safely.

Second, check what has previously been stored in the empty drum or container by reading the label and checking for any residual gas or flammable liquids.

Even if a drum or container has been empty for a long time, it can still explode or emit hazardous gas when heat is applied.

Simply rinsing drums or containers is not a fail-safe way to remove residue. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on clearing the contents before applying heat.

Before you begin hot work:

  • correctly label all containers and make sure there are material safety data sheets for all products.
  • ensure all explosive substances are removed from the immediate vicinity, including empty drums and containers.

During hot work make sure you:

  • only work in designated hot work areas
  • use booths or welding screens to protect nearby workers from flash burns that can cause loss of vision
  • ensure fumes and gases are adequately removed from the area
  • have fire safety equipment close by.

Remember - when you're planning to cut, weld or grind fuel or chemical containers, ask yourself:

  1. Has any flammable or combustible liquid, gas or chemical ever been stored in the container?
  2. Have I checked for a hazard diamond label and do I know what it means?

If you're unsure – don't take the risk.

For more information visit or call 1300 362 128.

Farm safe. Home safe.

RUN TIME: 2 min 26 seconds