Hazards While Welding, Wrecking, Butting And Brazing

Hazards While Welding, Wrecking, Butting And Brazing

These important yet dangerous tasks account for thousands of injuries each year. What is usually most affected is the skin, eyes and body parts. Burns can easily occur as well as damage to the eye with each use of a welding iron.

SoCal Removal is committed to preserving the safety of employees and maintaining a place of employment free from recognized hazards. Accordingly, only properly trained employees, authorized to perform such operations may perform welding, cutting, brazing, grinding, and other hotwork. If it is impossible to eliminate fire hazards from such work, appropriate control steps will be taken to ensure the safety of workers, including engineering and administrative controls and personal protective equipment. This welding, cutting, and brazing program is designed to protect life and property from fire, atmospheric contaminants, and other associated hazards during these operations, and will be enforced rigorously.

Personal Protective Equipment & General Safety

Face and eye protection, such as safety glasses or face shields

  • Foot protection
  • Additional necessary clothing or equipment, such as gloves, aprons, hearing protection devices, respirators, lifelines, safety belts, lanyards, and curtains
  • Ventilation, where necessary to protect an employee against toxic materials
  • Except for long-sleeve shirts required to protect the employee from ultraviolet rays to the arms, and ankle length trousers, clothing and equipment will be provided without expense to employees

Fire Prevention and Protection

Cutting or welding may only occur in fire-safe areas.

If the object to be welded or cut cannot be moved, movable fire hazards need to be moved at least 35 feet away. If it is impossible to move them, safeguards to confine heat, sparks, and slag must protect the immovable fire hazards. Where combustible materials are on the floor, employees must sweep the floor clean for a radius of 35 feet. Combustible floors must be kept wet (protect welder form shock if arc welding), covered with damp sand, or protected by fire-resistant shields. Floor openings or cracks in the floor that cannot be closed, as well as holes in walls, open doorways and open or broken windows must be guarded to prevent sparks from reaching readily combustible material. Employees must shutdown ducts that could carry sparks to combustibles, or emplace appropriate safeguards before hotwork.

Fire extinguishing equipment appropriate to the present hazard will be ready for instant use during hot work.

Firewatchers must be present for welding or cutting in locations where an unplanned flame might develop or when any of the following is true:

  • Appreciable combustible material is within 35 feet to the point of operation
  • Sparks may easily ignite appreciable combustibles more than 35 feet away
  • Wall or floor openings within a 35-foot radius expose combustible material in adjacent areas (including concealed spaces in walls or floors)
  • Combustible materials are adjacent to the opposite side of metal partitions, walls, ceilings, or roofs and are likely to be ignited by conduction or radiation

Welding and cutting by gas utility firms on live mains is exempt from this rule when the main if is filled under positive pressure with natural or manufactured gas and air movers are used to ventilate areas where fumes might accumulate.

SoCal Removal firewatchers must have fire extinguishing equipment readily available and training in its use. They must be familiar with facilities for sounding an alarm in the event of a fire and will watch for fires in all exposed areas. Firewatchers must try to extinguish flames only when within the capacity of the equipment available. Otherwise, they must sound the alarm.

The fire watch will continue for at least a half hour after completion of welding or cutting operations to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires.

Designated Prohibited Areas

Cutting or welding is prohibited in the following situations:

  • In areas not authorized by management
  • In sprinklered buildings where the sprinkler’s ability to stop fire have been impaired
  • In explosive atmospheres, including those that may develop inside uncleaned or improperly prepared spaces that contained explosive materials, or where there is an accumulation of combustible dusts
  • In an area nearer than 35 feet to the storage of large quantities of exposed, readily ignitable materials such as bulk sulfur, baled paper, or cotton
  • In a metal partition, wall, ceiling or roof that has a combustible covering or walls of sandwich-type construction
  • In pipes or other metal near enough to combustible walls, partitions, ceilings, or roofs to ignite them by conduction

DEMOLITION OF STEEL TANKS AND CONTAINERS:

  • Welding or cutting must not be performed on drums, barrels, tanks, or other containers until they have been cleaned of all flammable combustible or toxic materials or fumes.
  • All pipelines or other connections to drums, barrels, or tanks must be disconnected or blanked.
  • Hollow spaces or cavities must be vented and either filled with water or purged with an inert gas before preheating, cutting, or welding.
  • An opening must be maintained during welding and cutting to vent gases or vapors.

METAL TANK DEMOLITION AND CONFINED SPACES

Ventilation is required to work in any confined space.

Leave gas cylinders and welding machines outside of confined spaces. Before starting operations, block the wheels of heavy portable equipment to prevent movement.

A welder will only enter a confined space with company-provided means to be removed in case of emergency. When using safety belts and lifelines for this purpose, they need to be attached to the welder’s body so that his body cannot be jammed in a small exit opening. As with any work done in a hazardous confined space, the worker will have an attendant stationed outside with a preplanned rescue procedure. The attendant must be able to observe and/or communicate with the welder at all times and put rescue plans promptly into effect.

PROTECTION OF CONSTRUCTION JOBSITE PERSONNEL

Employees will have every appropriate protection against identified hazards.

Effective safeguards will protect workers on platforms, scaffolds or other spaces that present a falling hazard. Welding cable and equipment will remain clear of passageways, ladders, and stairways to ensure safe travel.

After welding operations are completed, the welder will mark the hot metal or provide some other means of warning other workers.

EYE PROTECTION

Welders must use helmets or hand shields during all arc welding or arc cutting operations, excluding submerged arc welding. The company also will provide helpers or attendants with proper eye protection.

Goggles or other suitable eye protection must be worn during all gas welding or oxygen cutting operations. Employees may use spectacles without side shields, with suitable filter lenses during gas welding operations on light work, for torch brazing or for inspection.

All operators and attendants of resistance welding or resistance brazing equipment must use transparent face shields or goggles, depending on the particular job, to protect their faces or eyes, as required. The company will provide eye protection in the form of suitable goggles where needed for brazing operations other than arc welding and brazing, or resistance welding or brazing. Welders must use helmets or hand shields during all arc welding or arc cutting operations, excluding submerged arc welding. The company also will provide helpers or attendants with proper eye protection. Goggles or other suitable eye protection must be worn during all gas welding or oxygen cutting operations. Employees may use spectacles without side shields, with suitable filter lenses during gas welding operations on light work, for torch brazing or for inspection. All operators and attendants of resistance welding or resistance brazing equipment must use transparent face shields or goggles, depending on the particular job, to protect their faces or eyes, as required.

The company will provide eye protection in the form of suitable goggles where needed for brazing operations other than arc welding and brazing, or resistance welding or brazing.

The specifications for such protectors are as follows:

  • Helmets and hand shields must be made of material that insulates for heat and electricity
  • Helmets, shields, and goggles must be not readily flammable and must be capable of withstanding sterilization
  • Helmets and hand shields must be arranged to protect the face, neck, and ears from direct radiant energy from the arc
  • Helmets must be provided with filter plates and cover plates designed for easy removal
  • All parts must be constructed of a material that will not readily corrode or discolor the skin
  • Goggles must be ventilated to prevent fogging of the lenses as much as practicable
  • All glass for lenses must be tempered, substantially free from air bubbles, waves and other flaws. Except when a lens is ground to provide proper optical correction for defective vision, the front and rear surfaces of lenses and windows must be smooth and parallel
  • Lenses must bear some permanent distinctive marking by which to identify the source and shade
  • Filter lenses must meet the test for transmission of radiant energy prescribed by any of the following consensus standards:
    • ANSI Z87.1-2003, “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection”
    • ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection”
    • ANSI Z87.1-1989, “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection”
  • Where work permits, enclose the welder in an individual booth painted with a finish of low reflectivity such as zinc oxide and lamp black, or enclose with noncombustible screens similarly painted. Booths and screens must permit circulation of air at floor level
  • Protect workers or other persons adjacent to the welding areas from the rays by noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields or those employees must be required to wear appropriate goggles

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Protect employees exposed to the hazards created by welding, cutting, or brazing operations with personal protective equipment as required to ensure safety and meet regulatory requirements. Appropriate protective clothing required for any welding operation will vary with the size, nature, and location of the work.

HEALTH PROTECTION AND VENTILATION

The factors that govern the amount of contamination to which welders may be exposed are the dimensions of the workspace, the number of welders working, and the evolution of hazardous fumes, gases, or dust.

When the welding area is screened on all sides, the screens need to be arranged to allow sufficient ventilation — mounted about 2 feet from the floor, unless the work being done is near enough to the ground to require them to be lower to prevent harm to nearby workers.

Ventilating systems must ensure toxic fumes, gases, and/or dust remains under permissible levels for all workers.

First-aid equipment remains available according to the emergency action plan. Report all injuries immediately. Trained personnel will provide first aid until professional medical attention is available.

PRECAUTIONARY LABELS

Fluxes, coatings, coverings, and filler metals used in welding and cutting may employ potentially hazardous materials, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Fluorine Compounds
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Cleaning compounds
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Mercury
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons

Appropriate ventilation or respirator equipment must control hazards presented by these chemicals and oxygen cutting stainless steel. Find more detail on controlling hazards these chemicals present in CFR 1910.252 (c) (5-12).

Welding material suppliers are responsible for determining hazards associated with a given material used for welding or cutting. Materials used in hot work must be labeled with safety warnings according to the hazards the materials present and all workers must understand what the warnings mean.

VENTILATION FOR GENERAL WELDING AND CUTTING

Mechanical ventilation for welding or cutting on metals other than those listed above and any of the following is true:

  • The space is less than 10,000 cubic feet per welder
  • The room has a ceiling height less than 16 feet
  • The space is confined
  • The welding space has structural barriers that significantly obstruct cross ventilation

Natural ventilation is sufficient for welding or cutting operations where these restrictions are not present.

Ventilation will be at least 2,000 cubic feet per minute per welder, except where workers have local exhaust hoods and booths or have airline respirators approved for such purposes.

Mechanical local exhaust ventilation may be by means of either of the following:

  • Freely movable hoods near the work provided with a rate of airflow in the direction of the hood of 100 linear feet per minute in the zone of welding when the hood is at its most remote distance from the point of welding. The rates of ventilation required to accomplish this velocity using a 3-inch wide flanged suction opening are shown in table 0-2
  • A fixed enclosure with a top and at least two sides that surround the welding or cutting operations with a rate of airflow sufficient to maintain a velocity away from the welder of not less than 100 linear feet per minute

CONFINED SPACES VENTILATION

Adequate ventilation for all welding and cutting operations in confined spaces must prevent the accumulation of toxic materials or oxygen deficiency. This applies not only to the welder but also to helpers and other personnel in the immediate vicinity. All air replacing that withdrawn for ventilation must be clean and respirable.

If this company cannot provide such ventilation, it will provide approved (by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)) airline respirators or hose masks for this purpose.

Areas immediately hazardous to life require a full-facepiece, pressure-demand, self- contained breathing apparatus, or a combination full-facepiece, pressure-demand supplied- air respirator with an auxiliary, self-contained air supply approved by NIOSH.

Where welding operations occur in confined spaces requiring hose masks, hose masks with blowers, or self-contained breathing equipment, a worker stationed on the outside of such confined spaces will ensure the safety of those working within.

Never use oxygen for ventilation.

See the Confined Spaces chapter for specific information on working in those areas.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

SoCal Removal will observe CAL-OSHA requirements where field shop operations are involved for fabrication of fittings, river crossings, road crossings, and pumping and compressor stations.

Special protection against electric shock for arc welding will be provided in wet conditions, or under conditions of high humidity.

In pressure testing of pipelines, protect workers and the public against injury by blowing out closures or other pressure restraining devices. Ensure protection against expulsion of loose dirt trapped in the pipe.

SoCal Removal laborers will follow the appropriate standard for the following welding applications:

  • Conduct the welded construction of transmission pipelines in accordance with the Standard for Welding Pipe Lines and Related Facilities, API Std. 1104-1968
  • The connection, by welding, of branches to pipelines carrying flammable substances must be performed in accordance with Welding or Hot Tapping on Equipment Containing Flammables, API Std. PSD No. 2201-1963
  • The use of X-rays and radioactive isotopes for the inspection of welded pipeline joints must be carried out in conformance with the American National Standard Safety Standard for Non-Medical X-ray and Sealed Gamma-Ray Sources, ANSI Z54.1-1963

PORTABLE WELDING MACHINES EXPLAINED

All portable welding guns must have suitable counterbalanced devices for supporting the guns, including cables, unless the design of the gun or fixture makes counterbalancing impractical or unnecessary.

All suspended portable welding gun equipment, except the gun assembly, must be equipped with a safety chain or cable capable of supporting the total shock load in event of failure of any component of the supporting system.

When a trolley is used to support a portable welding machine with a clevis for attachment to a safety chain, the clevis must be made of wrought or forged steel and capable of supporting the shock load if the trolley fails.

All initiating switches, including retraction and dual schedule switches, located on the portable welding gun must be equipped with suitable guards capable of preventing accidental initiation through contact with fixtures, operator’s clothing, etc. Initiating switch voltage must not exceed 24 volts.

The movable holder, where it enters the gun frame, must have sufficient clearance to prevent the shearing of fingers carelessly placed on the operating movable holder.

The secondary and case of all portable welding transformers must be grounded. Secondary grounding may be by center tapped secondary or by a center tapped grounding reactor connected across the secondary.

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