Welding and Cutting Requirements
- Whenever possible, move objects to a safe place before heating, cutting, or welding. Remove or effectively screen all fire hazards where welding and or cutting is to take place.
- Keep passageways, ladders, and stairs clear of hoses, cables, and other equipment.
- Do not cut or weld any steel drum or other vessel that might have contained flammable materials. Always catch or contain falling sparks and slag with fire-retardant welding blankets.
- Keep an appropriate type of fire extinguisher available at all times. Make sure there is sufficient ventilation.
- Where welding fumes and gases can accumulate, use local exhaust ventilation to remove the contaminants.
- All workers engaged in welding or burning operations should wear flame-retardant work clothing, leather gauntlet-type gloves, arm body and foot protection.
- Wear a welding hood and safety eyewear to guard against harmful radiation or particles of molten metal, including when chipping and grinding welds.
- Block or screen off the welding area to prevent the exposure of UV radiation to other workers in the area.
- When possible, recently welded or flame cut work should be marked “HOT” to prevent other workers from being burned.
- Welding can also cause damage to parts of your body. Your hearing, skin, neck, back, head and your respiratory system are all at risk when performing welding operations.
Skin: When you are welding, unprotected skin is exposed to hot metal, sparks and UV radiation (arc welding).
Hearing: Welding can generate noise at levels which cause hearing loss.
Respiratory: If you perform welding operations in a poorly ventilated area, you are at risk of inhaling fumes, gas and dust present in the air as a result of welding.
Head: Sparks can burn your hair, causing painful damage to your scalp and skin.
Neck and Back: Standing for long periods of time bent over your work can cause stress to your back. The traditional “nodding of the helmet” -- flicking your face shield down with your head and neck just before the arc is struck -- can cause neck strain.
Eyes: Burns caused by sparks, heat, molten metal and ultraviolet rays and cuts caused by flying spatter, and flash burns, commonly known as welder's flash or arc eye -- point to the importance of wearing the right PPE when welding.
- Some of the most common PPE used when welding include: leather gauntlet type gloves, leather jackets, long-sleeved shirts, high top boots, welder's helmet, welder's cap, special filtered eyewear, face protection and hearing protection.
- Clothing should be made from leather, cotton or wool. Keep clothing dry and free of oil, grease or solvents. Avoid pants with cuffs as they can collect sparks.
- Respirators may be needed for some welding jobs. You must be properly trained in the use of the respirator and be aware when you need one. Your supervisor will be able to tell you the requirements needed when using a respirator.
SOURCE: More information on Welding Safety
Questions for Discussion
- How can directly viewing a welding arc injure your eyes? Does squinting help?
- How can we protect ourselves from the harmful effects of welding?
- Wearing a welding helmet protects the welder. How are you protecting others from inadvertently viewing a welding arc?
- Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
- Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
- Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.