Cutting, Brazing, and Soldering
Safe Welding and Cutting - ESAB
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Cutting Hazards and Precautions
Another part of the welder’s job involves cutting operations such as oxyacetylene cutting and plasma arc cutting. Observe these safety precautions when performing any cutting operation:
- Never place hands or fingers between the metal plate and the bed.
- Never place hands under the hold-downs or knife.
- Ensure employees are clear from the piece being cut.
- Support the plate to avoid injuries if the cut end of the metal falls away.
- When using oxyacetylene cutting equipment, ensure that the work area is gas-free. This is particularly important when working in spaces where dangerous vapors may collect.
- Always post a fire watch to protect the surrounding areas and personnel. The high-pressure oxygen stream used in cutting with an oxyacetylene torch can throw molten metal for a distance of 50 to 60 feet.
- When using oxyacetylene cutting equipment, remove and tag out any interfering systems.
- Install covers, insulators, and handles before attempting to operate the plasma arc cutting equipment.
- When using plasma arc cutting equipment, open primary disconnect switches before charging any electrical connections.
Brazing and Soldering Hazards and Precautions
Cadmium and beryllium: Brazing and soldering with or on alloys containing cadmium or beryllium can be extremely hazardous because the fumes are extremely toxic and can cause death.
- Always avoid skin contact with cadmium and beryllium.
- Consult an expert in industrial hygiene whenever using cadmium or beryllium compounds or when performing repairs on parts containing the metals.
Fluoride compounds: Fluxes containing fluoride compounds are also toxic. Good ventilation is essential when soldering or brazing and the operator should always observe good
A common hazard when soldering is exposure of the skin, eyes, and clothing to acid fluxes. Be sure to observe these safety precautions when brazing or soldering:
- Always work in a way that flux will not be spilled on the skin or clothing.
- Always wear chemical splash-proof goggles, rubber gloves, and long sleeves when using cleaning solutions, pickling solutions, or acids.
- If you are exposed to any chemical solutions, acids, or fluxes, wash the affected area at once, and seek medical attention immediately.
- Remove or keep away all flammable material from the heating flames. Remember, heating soldering copper sometimes presents a fire hazard if an open flame is used.
- When performing hot work, make sure there are no flammable vapors present, such as gasoline, acetylene, or other flammable gases.
- Do NOT start a job until you have taken all safety precautions and the fire marshal notified, if applicable.
A wound is another problem that could be the result of an electrical shock. Welders could accidentally suffer an electrical shock, which could cause a loss of balance. This could result
in a minor or serious injury. Because workplace injuries can occur, you should know the basics of first aid.
Wounds are classified according to their general condition, size, location, how the skin or tissue is broken, and the agent that caused the wound.
Burns: The causes of burns are generally classified as thermal, electrical, chemical, or radiation. Whatever the cause, shock always results if the burns are extensive. The four types of common burns experienced by welders include:
- Thermal burns. Thermal burns are caused by exposure to intense heat, such as that generated by fire, bomb flash, sunlight, hot liquids, hot solids, and hot gases. Their care depends upon the severity of the burn and the percentage of the body area involved.
- Electrical burns. Electric current passing through tissues or the superficial wound caused by electrical flash causes electrical burns. They may be far more serious than they first appear. The entrance wound may be small; but as electricity penetrates the skin, it burns a large area below the surface. Usually there are two external burn areas: one where the current enters the body and another where it leaves.
- Chemical burns. Chemical burns are generally not caused by heat, but by the direct chemical destruction of body tissues. When acids, alkalis, or other chemicals come in contact with the skin or other body membranes, they can cause injuries generally referred to as chemical burns. The extremities, mouth, and eyes are the areas that are most often affected. Alkali burns are usually more serious than acid burns because they penetrate longer. When chemical burns occur, carry out emergency measures immediately. Do not wait for the arrival of medical personnel.
- Radiation burns. These burns are the result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. First- and second-degree burns may develop. Treatment is essentially the same as that for thermal burns.