This policy outlines the requirements in schools for hot work tasks.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 (Vic)External Link requires the department to provide or maintain, systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health.
  • The principal and/or their delegate (as the local management representative) must identify, assess, control, monitor OHS risks in relation to hot work tasks.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that no department employee is permitted to undertake any hot work tasks unless their role specifically requires them to do so.
  • Under the OHS Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to an OHS Advisory Service and local OHS regional officers who can provide free advice to schools for managing risks related to hot work tasks.
  • The Hot Work Procedure (in the Procedure tab) must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy related to hot work tasks.
  • This policy forms part of the department’s OHS Management System, see OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) and employees must:

  • identify all tasks which have the potential to generate heat, flames or sparks
  • record hazards (for example, fire and explosion) associated with the hot work tasks to be undertaken, in the ‘Hazard Description’ column of the OHS risk register (XLSX)External Link
  • ensure that all hot work tasks are risk-assessed using the Risk Assessment templateExternal Link or equivalent template prior to hot work tasks undertaken
  • ensure that employees undertaking hot work tasks, as part of their role, must complete a risk assessment using the risk assessment template or equivalent template
  • ensure that employees are trained to undertake hot work tasks as outlined in their job role, and that training records are maintained, such as by using the OHS Training Planner/Register templateExternal Link or equivalent
  • implement risk controls to manage hot work tasks using the hierarchy of controls, and ensure that risk assessments and implemented controls are recorded on the OHS risk register
  • review the controls implemented to ensure their effectiveness in managing the risk, and incorporate any changes to controls on the OHS risk register
  • ensure that, prior to staff undertaking hot work tasks, all hazardous areas or items and ignition sources surrounding the hot work area are isolated or otherwise controlled (refer to the Equipment Isolation and Tag Out Policy)
  • ensure that a trained fire watch observer is appointed and present for the entire duration of the hot work task. The fire watch observer must be able to operate fire and emergency equipment and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for example, a welding mask
  • ensure that no hot work tasks are undertaken without a trained fire watch observer being present
  • ensure that no hot work tasks are undertaken outside on days of total fire ban
  • authorise hot work tasks undertaken by contractors.

For further information on the process for meeting these requirements refer to the Hot Work Procedure.


Contractors including any service providers or individuals who are not direct employees of the department who are providing services or works in relation to maintenance and repair work and other contracted services engaged by schools such as cooking demonstrations, sports coaching and other activities including workshops and incursions.

Hierarchy of controls
There are a number of ways that risks associated with hazards can be reduced however, the effectiveness of each method may vary. The prioritising of approaches in managing the risks associated with a hazard is called the hierarchy of controls and indicates the decreasing level of effectiveness of various approaches. The hierarchy of controls are:

  • eliminating the hazard at the source
  • substituting the hazard with something else that poses a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard with an engineering control
  • implementing administrative controls and changing the way work is done
  • providing PPE.

Often a number of different approaches are used in conjunction with each other to provide a more effective risk treatment.

Hot work tasks
An operation involving open flame, abrasive grinding and cutting, welding, thermal or oxygen cutting or heating and other related heat-producing or spark-producing operations.

Relevant legislation

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link

Department policy on requirements in schools when undertaking an operation involving open flame, heat or sparks

Reviewed 09 May 2024

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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