Welding, Cutting, and Brazing
Welding, cutting, and brazing are common workplace activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health hazards to more than 500,000 workers in a variety of industries. These operation create exposure to toxic fumes and gasses, heat extremes, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and noise. Hazards from welding, cutting, and brazing include , but are not limited to:
– Eye damage
– Electrical shock
– Crushed toes and fingers
Welding , cutting, and brazing always require the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While preforming these operations all skin areas need to be protected against molten metal and sparks. Because the types of PPE depend on what job you are preforming and where that job is being performed, a baseline supply of PPE includes, but is not limited to:
- Proper eye and face protection
- Respiratory protection and/or adequate ventilation
- Long sleeve shirts (possible leather apron or coat)
- Pants that cover the tops of shoes (possible chaps)
- Hot work gloves
- Safety footwear
- Hearing protection
All welding areas must have adequate ventilation. Welding areas with poor ventilation may lead to plume poisoning. Plume poisoning is a sickness or injury which results in the inhalation of dangerous welding by-products.
In addition to the mandated use of PPE, fire hazard precautions must be implemented while welding, cutting, and brazing. Tips to remember include:
- Anything that is combustible or ignitable is susceptible to ignition from hot work.
- All moveable fire hazards and combustibles must be moved at least 35 feet from hot work activities.
- When fire hazards and combustibles cannot be moved, precautions must be implemented to confine sparks and slag, i.e. properly covering those materials that cannot be moved.
- When welding or cutting parts of vehicles, the oil pan, gasoline tank, and other parts of the vehicle that are considered fire hazards must be removed or effectively shielded from sparks, slag, and molten metal.
- Fire extinguishing equipment must be kept where hot work is done.
REMEMBER: PROACTIVE SAFETY BEATS REACTIVE SAFETY!
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