Development of hot work safety training

One of the aims of the Finnish National Rescue Association is to develop training concepts and promote safe working methods. In Finland, hot work safety training has been provided since 1988. So far, hot work training has been completed more than 1.74 million times.

The content of hot work training has naturally evolved over time, and has emphasised slightly different things in different decades. The dangers posed by gases have been highlighted, for example, while the second year introduced a greater focus on the functionality of fire extinguishers. The main theme of training at the moment is risk assessment.

Better awareness of the risks means people are better able to prepare for them. It is worth remembering that although many aspects may feel extremely familiar, it is important to update and maintain professional skills. Hot work training is not just about gaining a licence, it is also a question of professional expertise. In an emergency, people’s minds tend to go blank so what to do needs to become automatic.

Cooperation between a number of actors and bodies

Developing hot work training is the result of longterm effort. According to statistics produced by Finance Finland (FFI), the number of major fires caused by hot work has fallen over the period in which training has been required, from just under 40% to less than 5% of all major fires.

The reduction in the number of fires caused by hot work shows that hot work training has passed on important knowledge and skills over the years. However, achieving these results has taken cooperation between many different actors.

Over the years, SPEK has worked with the Confederation of Finnish Insurance Companies (now Finance Finland), AGA, the Finnish Roofing Association, the Finnish Association of Fire Chiefs and the Finnish Construction Trade Union.

This collaboration needed expertise from the Finnish insurance industry, experience of industrial firefighting, the input of experts in rescue organisations and Nordic co-operation.

The training gained its current status under the guidance of the insurance sector, while fire safety experts in companies and institutions backed the establishment of safe hot work processes by making training compulsory for their own staff and their contractors. The teaching sector was actively involved and incorporated hot work safety training in vocational education. Organisations in the rescue sector took responsibility for training trainers, for national course management and ensuring the quality of the training.

In practice, however, the greatest thanks are due to the course leaders who have been training people new to hot work, those who grant licences and hot work guards, year after year.

We want to continue developing our training and ensure that we are able to guarantee its quality into the future. Personally, when it comes to developing the training, I think the most important aspect is listening to the needs of the workplace.

Also taking into account the different backgrounds of the trainees enables us to develop learning pathways that best serve them. In the future, we will definitely be seeing more of trends such as e-learning as part of hot work training. However, training as a whole cannot be fully carried out online as practical exercises on the ground are an important part of the learning process.

As the training changes, monitoring has to change with it.Our audits and the high standards we set for trainers are ways in which we strive to maintain high-quality training provision.

International collaboration creates opportunities

As the training changes, monitoring has to change with it. Our audits and the high standards we set for trainers are ways in which we strive to maintain high-quality training provision.
At company level, the number of fires caused by hot work has declined and health and safety associated with hot work has improved.
And most importantly, training has increased the ability of citizens to identify and combat fire risks, to act correctly in the event of an accident and to carry out fire extinguishing measures.

“We will continue to improve hot work safety – together!”

Heli Hätönen
Head of Development
The Finnish National Rescue Association, SPEK

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