Savings generated by hot work safety training in the past 25 years amount to millions of euros in Finland
Hot work safety training is an excellent example of what can be achieved by extensive safety training. Before such training began in the late 1980s, hot work caused up to 40 percent of all major fires in Finland. Today, the figure is 5 percent. Over the years, more than 900 000 people have completed the training. The hot work safety training is supervised and developed by the hot work committee of the Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK).
The hot work training course teaches participants how to prevent fires at temporary hot work sites. However, some of the practices can be extended to other parts of the worksite environment. The training includes emergency extinguishing practise also.
In the past 25 years, more than 910 000 persons have learned about practical fire safety on one or several hot work safety training courses. Those who successfully complete the training are granted a hot work licence, which is valid for five years. After this time the training must be renewed. There are currently over 400 000 valid hot work licence-holders throughout Finland.
Thanks to hot work safety training, the proportion of major fires caused by hot work has been cut from 40 to 5 percent. Based on this, it can be calculated that the training has contributed to material savings amounting to hundreds of millions of euros, as fires have either been completely avoided or workers have been able to extinguish them before major damage could be done. It is also reasonable to assume that the training has saved lives.
At present, hot work safety training courses are taught by 1200 trainers. Nearly half of the trainers are teachers working for educational institutions, and most hot workers complete the training as part of their vocational studies. For the needs of foreign workers, training materials have in the 2000s been translated into various languages, including English, Russian, Polish, and Estonian.
The hot work safety training is supervised and developed by the hot work committee of the Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK). In addition to SPEK, the committee includes representatives of The Federation of Finnish Financial Services and The Finnish Association of Fire Chiefs. SPEK maintains a training register and monitors training quality.