Written by Steve Hudgik
Welding, Cutting, and Brazing Hazards
Welding, cutting, and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of safety and health risks to both those doing welding or cutting and to other workers, as well as to equipment and the facility. The physicals hazards of welding including burns, fire, UV radiation, infrared radiation and intense visible light. Health hazards can include exposure to smoke and fumes containing materials such as zinc, cadmium, beryllim, iron oxide, mercury, lead and other hazardous materials. Toxic materials in welding fumes most commonly come from:
- the material being welded or the welding rod
- plating, coatings and paints used on the base metal being welded
- the shielding gases
- contaminants such as grease and other lubricants, dust, cleaning materials and degreasers
There are a ten basic safety tips that should be followed as the foundation of welding safety:
Foundation Of Welding Safety
- Welding Safety Tip #1 - Think Safety: Never forget about the hazards of welding and cutting. Great care should be taken when working with welding machines or equipment. Potential hazards include injuries resulting from fire, explosions, and gases and fumes resulting from the welding.
- Welding Safety Tip #2 - Authorized Only: Only authorized persons are to use welding or cutting equipment.
- Welding Safety Tip #3 - Protect Wooden Floors: When welding in areas with a wooden floor the floor must be protected by fire resistant fabric, sand, or other fireproof material. Precautions must be taken to ensure that hot sparks or hot metal will not fall on the operator or on any welding equipment components.
- Welding Safety Tip #4 - Use Correct PPE: Always use the appropriate PPE for the type of welding or cutting you'll be doing.
- Welding Safety Tip #5 - Prevent Fires: Before starting to weld or cut, check the area to ensure that all flammable material, such as cotton, oil, gasoline, etc., is removed from the vicinity of welding. When welding on grating, or in any other location in which hot metal may fall to lower levels, also check those lower levels.
- Welding Safety Tip #6 - Protect Others: Before beginning to weld or cut, check for work being done in the general area. Warm those in close proximity who are not protected to wear proper clothing or goggles.
- Welding Safety Tip #7 - Protect Equipment: Check the equipment or item you are welding and remove any parts and components that may become warped or otherwise damaged by the welding process.
- Welding Safety Tip #8 - Dispose Of Waste Properly: Do not leave hot rejected electrode stubs, steel scrap, or tools on the floor or near the welding equipment. To prevent accidents and fires dispose of all waste and scrap properly.
- Welding Safety Tip #9 - Have A Fire Extinguisher Handy: Keep an appropriate fire extinguisher close by at all times, even during breaks and for a time after welding has been completed.
- Welding Safety Tip #10 - Mark Hot Metal: Mark all hot metal after welding operations are completed. Soapstone is commonly used for this purpose.
ANSI Z49 - The Welding Safety Code
ANSI Z49 is the welding safety standard that provides for the protection of workers who are involved with welding or cutting. It gives the safety requirements for protecting welders from injury and illness and for the protection of property (including equipment) from damage by fire and explosions arising from welding, cutting, and related processes.
ANSI Z49 covers those safe practices for performing welding, cutting, and allied processes, which are generally within the implementation control of the welder or the weld shop management. It is written in a manner suitable for use by welders and shop management, and provides practical information to help them perform welding and cutting safely. ANSI Z49 also contains information useful to educators, industrial hygienists, engineers, and similar people who are responsible for welding safety and health.
The following provides the table of contents for ANSI Z49
ANSI Z49 Part I - Welding Safety General Aspects
- Purpose and Scope
- General Provisions, Management, and Supervision
- Protection of Personnel and the General Area
- Fire Prevention and Protection
- Confined Spaces
- Public Exhibitions and Demonstrations
- Precautionary Information
ANSI Z49 Part II - Welding Safety Specific Processes
- Oxyfuel Gas Welding and Cutting Safety
- Arc Welding and Cutting Equipment Safety
- Resistance Welding Safety
- Electron Beam Welding and Cutting Processes (EBW and EBC)
- Laser Beam Cutting and Welding
- Brazing and Soldering Safety
Annex A (Informative) - American Welding Society Safety and Health Standards List 49
Annex B (Informative) - List of Other Sources 51
Annex C (Informative) - List of Publishers. 53
Annex D (Informative) - Master Chart of Welding and Joining Processes Master Chart of Allied Processes
Annex E (Informative) - Guidelines for the Preparation of Technical Inquiries for the Z49 Committee
Using ANSI Z49 Signs And Labels
Safety signs and labels are an important part of welding safety. They identify locations were welding or cutting is taking place, and warn about safety and health hazards. They also remind welders about necessary safety precautions, required PPE, and safety procedures.
Having tough, durable, welding safety signs and labels is critical. That's where DuraLabel comes in. DuraLabel makes the leading custom label and sign printers, and is the only brand that provides a five year warranty on their vinyl labels and signs. That's because DuraLabel vinyl is tough-tested for durability even in harsh environments. Call 1-888-326-9244 today and find out which DuraLabel printer is right for you.
The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.