Welding And Cutting Safety

Welding And Cutting Safety

Everyone involved in welding operations must take necessary precautions to prevent fires, explosions, or personal injuries. Even for small or routine jobs, you should always follow established safety procedures and resist the temptation to take shortcuts.

As with any job activity, you will have hazards involved. Some common welding dangers you should be aware of include fumes, gases, radiation, electric shock, fire and explosion, lead poisoning, metal splatter and sparks, noise, and slips, trips and falls. While these are a lot of hazards, OSHA allows a lot of ways to control or eliminate them in order to protect you:

  • Ventilation—Exhaust hoods at the arc, fans, and open spaces all help to
    reduce the concentration of hazardous fumes, gases, and dusts, and prevent
    the accumulation of flammable gases, vapors, and dusts that could cause
    fire. Know the symptoms of fumes and gases and get out of the area if they develop. Perform atmospheric tests.
  • Respirators—When ventilation and plume avoidance don’t give enough protection or when welding creates an oxygen- deficient area, wear a respirator.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)—This includes flame-resistant aprons; leggings and high boots; ankle-length safety shoes worn under your pant legs; shoulder cape and skull cap; ear plugs or ear muffs; insulated gloves; safety helmets; goggles; helmets; and shields. Use ANSI-approved filter lenses and plates. Protect those nearby by putting up shields.
  • Electrical precautions—Do not arc weld while standing on damp surfaces or in damp clothing. Properly ground, install, and operate equipment. Do not use defective equipment. Use well-insulated electrode holders and cables. Insulate yourself from both the work and the metal electrode and holder. Don’t wrap a welding cable around your body. Wear dry gloves and rubber-soled shoes. Do not use damaged or bare cables and connectors.
  • Fire protection—Wear flame-resistant clothing. Have someone be your fire watcher when you weld. Move all combustible material at least 35 feet from the work area and try to move away from combustible materials, or cover them with fire resistant material. Don’t weld in atmospheres containing dangerously reactive or flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dust. Clean and purge containers which may have held combustible material before applying heat. Get a hot work permit and follow its safety precautions.
  • Confined space precautions—Assess limited work spaces and slipping hazards, and evaluate hazardous atmospheres and interior surfaces for flammability, combustibility, or toxic fumes that could result from welding processes.
  • Clothing—Wear wool, leather, or cotton treated clothing to reduce flammability for gas shielded arc welding. Long sleeves and pants without cuffs/front pockets are recommended to avoid catching sparks.
  • Don’t get too close to the fume or plume or weld on lead-painted surfaces
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