Welding Safety

 

Introduction

Welding and flame cutting operations are hot work processes supported in the Thayer Machine Shop.

Scope and Application

This policy applies to all flame cutting, brazing, metal welding and plasma cutting activities in the Thayer Machine Shop.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Thayer Machine Shop Manager is responsible for the implementation of safety policies in the weld operations.

Thayer Machine Shop Technical Instructor

  1. Develop Hot Work curriculum and train persons engaged in hot work activities
  2. Develop practices and procedures to ensure welding safety
  3. Ensure that only properly trained and supervised individuals conduct welding and hot work operations.
  4. Develop and maintain adequate facilities.
  5. Ensure adequate housing and fire protection.
  6. Complete and record Hot Work permits.
  7. Periodically audit welding practices to ensure compliance and safe work practices.

Safety Overview:

Potential health, safety and property hazards result from the fumes (metal vapors), gases, sparks, hot metal and radiant energy produced hot work. Hot work equipment which may produce high voltages or employ the use of compressed gases requires special awareness and training. The hazards associated with hot work can be safely reduced through a combination of adequate facilities, training, work practices and protective equipment (PPE). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prohibits cutting and welding operations unless appropriate steps are taken to minimize fire hazards. These requirements are specified in 29 CFR 1910.252 (general requirements) and 29 CFR 1910.253 (oxygen-fuel gas welding and cutting). Please see the attached codified regulations.

 

Policies

Training

All persons performing hot work must be properly trained.  Training includes a combination of experience, on-the-job training, classroom instruction and adherence to the policy requirements outlined here.  In general, each person permitted to weld must demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities in the following related areas.

  • Proper equipment operation.
  • Safe handling and storage of welding materials.
  • Safe handling and storage of compressed gasses.
  • Fire safety and fire prevention.
  • Requirements for a Hot Work Certificate.
  • Selection and use of personal protective equipment.
  • For those who may have to work in confined spaces, participation in confined space training.

Students engaged in welding and flame cutting activities are required to receive specialized training and certification from a Thayer Machine Shop technical instructor designated to train and supervise students welding in Thayer Machine Shop facilities. Each student engaged in welding activities must obtain a Thayer Machine Shop supplied “Hot Work Certificate” as required by this policy.

No welding involving any of the following metals is to take place.

  • Cadmuim                               
  • Fluorine
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Beryllium

Welding Authorization

Authorization to utilize the welding and hot work areas of the machine shop are required for all users of the hot work equipment and, are issued at the discretion of the designated “Thayer Machine Shop Technical Instructor”. The Thayer Machine Shop Technical Instructor will provide training and oversight sufficient to ensure safe and satisfactory operation of Thayer Machine Shop welding equipment, and will maintain written records of students who have successfully completed necessary safety and procedural training.

 

Facilities

Areas where welding is done must be designated, prepared, properly equipped. Only trained and authorized individuals are permitted to weld, braze, solder and flame cut.

Combustible and flammable materials within the work area must be protected against fire hazards and the operation should not pose hazards to others in nearby areas. The following controls must be used:

  • Welding and flame cutting must be done in properly designated and equipped shop areas with adequate ventilation. Special precautions must be followed whenever welding or flame cutting is done outside a designated area.
  • Welding and flame cutting operations are restricted to authorized individuals and to student trainees working directly under the supervision of a Thayer Machine Shop authorized technician.
  • A Thayer Machine Shop technical instructor is considered to be ‘authorized’ when they can demonstrate a requisite knowledge and skill set through a combination of training and experience to the satisfaction of the Thayer Machine Shop Manager. Authorized technicians are those who perform welding as a job responsibility for the Thayer Machine Shop. This does not include students or others with only limited experience.
  • Students and others with limited experience must be adequately supervised by authorized individuals.
  • All combustible materials must be at least 35 feet from the work site. If this is not possible, combustible materials must be covered or shielding using appropriate nonflammable materials such as welding curtains and drapes, metal dividers or similar fire resistive barriers.
  • Floor and wall openings within 35 feet of the work site must be covered or shielded to prevent hot sparks from entering walls or falling beneath floors.
  • Consideration must be given to situations where ignition may result from conduction of heat through being cut.
  • Adequate precautions must also be taken to prevent UV and thermal burns.
  • If a building or area is equipped with a sprinkler system, then the sprinkler system must be operational when hot work is performed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment specifically designed for hot work must be available and used at all times during cutting or welding.  Please refer to the College’s PPE policy for more information.

Compressed Gas Cylinder Storage and Handling

Storage and handling of compressed gas cylinders are important parts of many cutting and welding operations.  The following must be observed:

  • Oxygen and fuel gas cylinders should be stored separately with the protective valve caps in place.
  • Except when in use, oxygen and fuel gas cylinders should be stored at least 20 feet apart or separated by a noncombustible wall at least 5 feet high.
  • Cylinder carts equipped with a cylinder restraint (such as a chain or strap) must be used for transporting compressed gas cylinders.
  • All cylinders not in use must e upright and firmly secured in the upper one-third.
  • Regulators must be compatible with the cylinder and its contents.  Many regulators are similar in design and construction.  Check the regulator’s model number and compare that with the cylinder’s requirements.
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