What does a fire watch do exactly? Today, we’ll dive into this subject on our blog. We’ll discuss fire watch duties and responsibilities. We’ll also talk about when it’s required. Keep reading for all you need to know about fire watch procedures and more!


Firewatch takes place in 1989 (30 years ago) in the Shoshone National Forest, which is adjacent to, but not part of, Yellowstone National Park. Where construction results in the absence of fire systems, fire watch is an essential process. A fire watch is even more important where hot works (work with welding and other fire hazards) is taking place where there is no fire warning system.

The time to address worker safety and to assess fire watch particulars is right now. Your workers’ safety is vital to your company. It’s not smart to wait for a fire to break out before taking action.

Put out the fires of confusion as soon as possible! Everyone in your company should be clear about what to do in case of a fire. Especially your fire watch!

What Is an OSHA Fire Watch?

Fire watch personnel are mandated by OSHA. They literally watch for fire in areas of hot work. When is a fire watch required? These areas of hot work include those where workers weld and cut with torches. You’ve maybe even heard it called a “welding fire watch.”

This type of labor causes sparks. Molten metal can even fly into the air and onto surroundings. A fire watch is required in these cases. This person is your lookout. Fires can start easily and spread quickly, so prompt response is necessary. For additional safety tips, check out our welding safety checklist.

Firewatch wallpaper

What Does a Fire Watch Do?

If a fire begins, the fire watch steps in immediately. They are in charge of sounding the alarm. They’ll follow procedure and attempt to control the fire as well. Really, that alarm represents their primary duty. Firefighters need to be on the scene as soon as possible. So, the alarm is important. Professionals on site can help save buildings, machinery, and lives.

Use Safety by Design’s Houston safety training services today. We can ensure that your team is prepared for whatever comes their way. With training on their side, they’ll feel confident in their abilities to perform accurately and speedily in the event of an emergency.

OSHA Fire Watch Requirements

Firewatch Switch

Worker safety in hot areas is important. Understanding the OSHA fire watch requirements is, too. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but we’ll point you in the right direction. Always refer to complete OSHA guidelines and requirements to be sure you’re compliant.

These are the fire watch responsibilities:

  • Keep yourself and all employees alert. They should know the exact location of firefighting equipment necessary in the event of a fire.
  • It’s important to maintain very clear and constant lines of communication among workers.
  • As much as you can, maintain visual and voice contact with employees in hot areas.
  • During shift changes and even before, you should inspect entire work areas. Always look for the potential of fire. This includes the release of flammable liquids or vapors.
  • You have the equipment. Be ready to use it at any time. Be sure it’s all in working order as well. A faulty fire extinguisher, hydrant, hose cart, or fixed monitor does no good if it doesn’t work properly when you need it most.
  • Absolutely never abandon a job site while hot work is happening. If you must leave, then stop the job. Let the workers know that you are “standing-by-for.”
  • Before you leave the hot area, double-check for a few things. No burning embers, hot sparks, or other fire hazards should be present.
  • Return all firefighting equipment to its safe location at the end of the workday.

Fire Watch Job Description

Using safety consulting companies like Safety by Design makes all the difference. When your employees understand their roles, they feel competent in their fields. They take pride in their work. Take measures to keep them safe. And to help them keep others safe.

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Firewatcher's Daughter Brandi Carlile

Fire Watch Procedures

You’ll want to follow OSHA fire watch approved procedures. Once again, thoroughly examine all OSHA codes for details. Here’s a condensed version:

  • Monitor all hot work in your facility. Beyond that, look for fire hazards across the entire workplace.
  • Shut down all operation if you discover a fire hazard without a fire watch.
  • Read your safety permit carefully. Assure that all conditions and requirements are maintained.
  • Make sure to keep flammable materials from touching the ignition sources.
  • Immediately turn the fire alarm on in the event of a fire. Extinguish the fire if possible.
  • Call 911. In some cases, you may have a different emergency alarm number. Be aware.

Contact Safety by Design for Your Fire Watch Training Needs

Osha Fire Watch

Contact Safety by Design now! We’re here to provide you and your workers with essential training. We work with fire watches and so much more. If you have a question or concern regarding safety in the workplace, reach out today. We’d love to see how we can assist you.