Thousands of workers take first of its kind hot work safety program

New requirements and training developed after deadly Back Bay fire

March 30, 2017 – As the city of Boston remembered Lieutenant Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy who died battling a fire on Beacon Street in Boston three years ago this week, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced that more than 13,000 workers in various construction industry jobs have already participated in a program aimed at preventing similar tragedies.

NFPA began working with the Boston Fire Department, City of Boston Inspectional Services and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council shortly after the cause of the fire was determined to have been started by hot work operations in a nearby building. In June 2016, the Boston City Council passed an ordinance amending the Boston Fire Prevention Code requiring that, effective January 1, 2017, all persons engaged in hot work operations must obtain a Hot Work Safety Certificate.

“We are privileged to be working with the City of Boston on this critical program that honors the memories of Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy by advancing safety throughout the city and beyond,” said Chuck Stravin, Vice President of Business Development & Operations. “The NFPA Hot Work Safety Certificate Program drives training and awareness of the potential dangers associated with hot work along with an understanding of proper safety procedures.  While we have trained thousands, we know there are thousands more that will need this training if they plan on doing hot work in Boston.” 

Boston Fire Commissioner and Chief of Department Joe Finn added, “There is no greater tribute to these two individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their community, than to do everything we can to ensure this never happens again.”

According to NFPA, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 4,440 structure fires involving hot work per year. These fires caused an average of 12 civilian deaths, 208 civilian injuries and $287 million in direct property damage per year.

NFPA anticipates this program will be of interest to communities beyond Boston and is planning for an expansion of the program to meet the need.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also signed a bill in October of 2016 establishing a special commission to study best practices for welding and hot work, and make recommendations for improvement statewide.

Hot Work Safety Certificate Program classes are being offered by local labor organizations; members are encouraged to contact administrators regarding training sessions. Unaffiliated construction industry professionals can register for a Hot Work Safety Certificate Program training class conducted at NFPA in Quincy. To learn more about the program or to register, visit www.nfpa.org/bostonhotwork.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275