Course 908 - Offshore Oil and Gas Safety I

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Fire Prevention

fire prevention


To prevent fires offshore, the American Petroleum Institute API RP 14G, Recommended Practice for Fire Prevention and Control on Fixed Open-type Offshore Production Platforms, should be used as a reference. Use the following recommendations in the Fire Prevention Program:

  • Storage cabinets should be designed and constructed to limit internal temperatures to no more than 325ºF with a maximum capacity less than 60 gallons of Class I and Class II liquids.
  • Store containers with flammable liquids away from the work area, traffic areas, and any source of ignition. Portable flammable containers should be of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved, or equivalent.
  • When flammable liquids are being transferred from one container to another, electrically bond or ground transfer equipment.
  • Do not make an opening in a firewall that may affect its integrity without formal approval from an authorized company representative.
Using a Fire Extinguisher - Bremerton Fire Dept.

Fire Reporting and Response

When there is a fire:

  • Sound the fire alarm to alert all workers.
  • The person first observing the fire should call out the location of the fire over the PA system.
  • Employees should only try to fight the fire if it is in its beginning stage and controllable.
  • All workers hearing the fire alarm should respond as instructed.

Firefighting Equipment

There should be firefighting equipment on board every platform or facility in the case of a fire.

Firefighting equipment consists of:

  • Fire stations consisting of a hydrant, fire hose, and fire nozzle should be located throughout the platform.
  • Special fire-fighting systems, such as fixed CO2 or water mist systems and foam systems should be used for helidecks.
  • Each person should become familiar with all fire-fighting systems and the alarms associated with the activation of these systems.
  • All persons should leave a fixed fire-fighting system-protected area when the alarm sounds.
  • Fixed firefighting system protected areas should be clearly identified and instructions for activation should be posted.
  • Fire extinguishers should be of a class suitable for the most likely type of fire in work areas in which they are located.
  • Smoke and heat detectors, fire eyes, and Temperature Safety Elements (TSE) should be located and available at specified locations on each manned platform.

Call for help before fighting fires; do not put yourself at risk!

Classes of Fires and Extinguishing Agents


Fire Extinguishers


Use the following recommendations for fire extinguishers on board platforms:

  • Properly maintain the fire extinguisher.
  • Use the most appropriate fire extinguisher for the most likely class of fire expected at the work area.
  • A common type of fire extinguisher used on platforms is the 30 lb. Low Temperature, dry-chemical type portable extinguisher with an ABC or BC rating.
  • A BSEE-approved fire prevention plan for platforms should specify the size, type, and location of all fire extinguishers, hoses, reels, etc.
  • All fire extinguishers should be located as detailed on the approved worker safety and firefighting equipment drawings.
  • Monthly inspection records should be maintained and annual certifications documented by the Facility Operator.

Welding Operations

Dangers of Hot Work - CSB

When welding is performed, ensure the welder and fire watch are properly trained and authorized. Be sure regulations are followed and hot work authorization permits issued. Also follow the guidelines below:

  • Welding, cutting, and grinding equipment should only be used by competent/qualified and authorized workers.
  • Before welding operations begin, get approval from the company/contractor representative, or person with delegated authority, under a Hot Work Permit.
  • The responsible job supervisor should make sure that safe welding procedures are followed, including:
    • proper welding grounding procedures
    • the use of welding flash shields
    • eye protection for aides
  • All welders should wear flame resistant clothing fully covering the arms, legs, and torso, meeting standards for NFPA 2112.
  • If the welder’s outerwear is non-fire resistant, the welder should wear fire-resistant clothing (FRC) under their non-fire resistant rated welding garments as needed to ensure that body parts are adequately protected.
  • Welders should use proper PPE to limit the potential exposure to excessive ultraviolet radiation, fire, explosion, asphyxiation, toxic gases, fumes, or dust when welding or cutting.
  • Flame arresters or check valves should be equipped on gas-welding hoses.
  • Equipment containing hydrocarbons or other flammable substances should be moved at least 35 feet horizontally from the welding area prior to the start of welding.
  • Before welding, move equipment on lower decks at least 35 feet from the point of impact where slag, sparks, or other burning materials could fall.
  • When equipment cannot be moved, one or more of the following actions should be taken to protect it from the hazards of welding operations:
    • protect it with flame-proofed covers
    • shield it with metal or fire-resistant guards or curtains
    • render the flammable substances inert
  • If a discharge of flammable fluids occurs from vessels during welding, stop the operation.

Welding Operations (Continued)


If you cannot weld in one of the designated safe-welding areas that you listed in your safe welding plan, you should also meet the following requirements:

  • You may not begin welding until:
    • The welding supervisor or designated person in charge advises in writing that it is safe to weld
    • You and the designated person in charge inspect the work area and areas below it for potential fire and explosion hazards.
  • During welding, the person in charge must designate one or more persons as a fire watch. The fire watch must:
    • Have no other duties while actual welding is in progress;
    • Have usable firefighting equipment immediately available;
    • Remain on duty for 30 minutes after welding activities have ended; and
    • Maintain a continuous surveillance with a portable gas detector during the welding and burning operation if welding occurs in an area not equipped with a gas detector.
Duties of the rig welder
  • Welding should not be performed on piping, containers, tanks, or other vessels that have contained a flammable substance unless the contents are rendered inert and the designated person in charge has determined it is safe to weld. This does not apply to authorized and approved hot tap operations.
  • Welding is not permitted within 10 feet of a wellbay or production area unless all producing wells in that wellbay or production area have been shut in.
  • Welding is not permitted during drilling, completion, workover, or while conducting wireline operations unless:
    • The fluids in the well are noncombustible, and
    • Entry of formation hydrocarbons into the wellbore have been precluded.

Hot Work

Hot work is any work that involves burning, welding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or that produces a source of ignition. Welding and cutting operations are common to drilling and servicing operations.

Potentially hazardous areas that may require hot work include, but are not limited to, well heads, fuel tanks, mud tanks, tank batteries, gas separators, oil treaters, or confined spaces where gases can accumulate.

  • Test for flammable gases in the work area before starting any hot work.
  • Prior to any hot work in process areas or other potentially hazardous areas, a Hot Work Permit should be issued by a company representative.
  • The work area should be tested and continuously monitored.

Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the Hot work, such as welding, by storage tanks is obviously dangerous. But even tanks which are seemingly empty or contain normally non-flammable substances are risks for explosions. In this podcast, Dan Clark tells the story of how a storage container of just water and fish residue caused an explosion and worker death during hot work.

Fire Watch

Most hot work should require at least one fire watch. When this is the case:

  • A fire watch should be assigned when any welding, cutting, or other hot work operations are being conducted.
  • The fire watch should not use facility-assigned fire extinguishers. The fire watch should use only fire extinguishers specifically assigned for the purpose of a fire watch.
  • If hot work is performed over areas where the possibility of fire exists, a second fire watch is assigned in that area during the full fire watch period.

Fire watchers should:

  • Monitor the atmosphere with a gas detector. If a flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10 percent of the lower explosive level (LEL), the work must be stopped.
  • Have fire-extinguishing equipment readily available and be trained in its use.
  • Be familiar with facilities for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire.
  • Watch for fires in all exposed areas, try to extinguish them only when obviously within the capacity of the equipment available, or otherwise sound the alarm.
  • Maintain the fire watch at least a half hour after completion of welding or cutting operations to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires.

Heaters (Portable)

When working with heaters, only competent workers should:

  • Install, ignite, and service portable heaters.
  • Perform repairs and maintenance.
  • Operational flame-failure shutdown devices should be on all portable fired heaters.
  • Contractors should ensure adequate ventilation to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide in confined areas or hoarded structures.


When smoking offshore:

  • Only smoke in designated smoking areas on the platform.
  • Clearly identify designated smoking areas identified by posted signs.
  • Do not smoke in the living quarters.
  • Do not take smoking materials, including matches, out of the accommodation.
  • Smoking should be permitted only within clearly identified designated smoking areas.
  • Designated smoking areas should have a metal receptacle for disposal of ashes and cigarettes or cigarette butts.
  • The use of and/or carrying of ‘strike anywhere’ matches and lighters is restricted to designated smoking areas and/or non-hazardous work areas only.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. When flammable liquids are being transferred from one container to another, _____.

2. A _____ fire occurs primarily in electrical equipment.

3. The responsible job supervisor should make sure that all of the following safe welding procedures are followed, except _____.

4. In which of the following potentially hazardous areas on a platform would hot work be required?

5. Prior to any hot work in process areas or other potentially hazardous areas, which of the following should be issued by a company representative?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.