Safe Welding Program
Purpose of the Program
An effective welding, cutting, and brazing program should protect workers from injury or death and property from fire, atmospheric contaminants, and other hazards during operations.
An effective Welding, Cutting, and Brazing Safety Program should include the following elements:
- Written Plan
- Fire Prevention and Protection
- Protection of Personnel
- Health Protection and Ventilation
- Industrial Applications
- Selection and Use of Work Practices
- Welding Safety Checklist
Effective implementation of a safe welding program requires support from all levels of management within the company.
- All affected employees should be familiar with the elements of the program.
- The program should encompass all facilities, worksites, and projects, regardless of the size of the workforce or work schedules.
- It should establish clear policies and objectives related to welding, cutting, brazing and soldering safety.
Management should recognize its responsibility for the safe use of cutting and welding equipment on its property, as well as the following things:
- Based on fire potentials of plant facilities, establish areas for cutting and welding, and establish procedures for cutting and welding, in other areas.
- Designate an individual responsible for authorizing cutting and welding operations in areas not specifically designed for such processes.
- Insist cutters or welders and their supervisors are suitably trained in the safe operation of their equipment and the safe use of the process.
- Advise all contractors about flammable materials or hazardous conditions of which they may not be aware.
Individuals responsible for supervising welding operations should:
- be responsible for the safe handling of the cutting or welding equipment and the safe use of the cutting or welding process
- determine the combustible materials and hazardous areas present or likely to be present in the work location
- protect combustibles from ignition by the following safe procedures and practices:
- Have the work moved to a location free from dangerous combustibles.
- If you cannot move the work, have the combustibles moved to a safe distance or have the combustibles properly shielded against ignition.
- Schedule cutting and welding at a time when plant operations that might expose combustibles to ignition are not started during cutting or welding.
- Secure authorization for the cutting or welding operations from the designated management representative.
- Ensure the cutter or welder sees conditions are safe before going ahead.
- Make sure fire protection and extinguishing equipment are properly located at the site.
- Where fire watches are required, make sure they are available at the site.
Gas welding and cutting. Training for workers performing gas welding and cutting includes:
- Transporting, moving and storing compressed gas cylinders
- In-plant handling, storage, and utilization of compressed gases in cylinders, portable tanks, rail tank cars, or motor vehicle cargo tanks. This training should include the following topics in Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet P-1-2015:
- regulations and standards applicable to compressed gases in containers;
- general safe handling rules for compressed gas containers;
- safe handling and storage rules for compressed gas by hazard class;
- precautions for tank cars, cargo, and portable tanks; and
- security issues and procedures.
Arc welding and cutting. Training should include the safe means and methods of arc welding and cutting including:
- removing electrodes when left unattended so that they will not contact employees or conducting objects;
- prohibition of dipping hot electrode holders in water exposing workers to possible electric shock;
- opening power switches when leaving or stopping work for any appreciable length of time, or when moving the arc welding or cutting machine;
- reporting faulty or defective equipment to the supervisor.
- Disconnecting means for Motor-generator, AC transformer, DC rectifier arc, and Resistance welders. (See 1926.406(c))
Fire Prevention. Workers must be instructed on:
- specific anticipated fire hazards;
- how and when to use firefighting equipment;
- requirements for fire watches to guard against fire;
- precautions when welding on walls, floors, and ceilings.
Before permitting cutting or welding, the individual responsible for authorizing cutting and welding operations should:
- inspect the area,
- designate precautions to be followed, and
- grant authorization to proceed preferably in the form of a written permit.
Report all injuries to the medical department as soon as possible. Treat even a slight burn or scratch promptly to prevent infection. Treat eye burns IMMEDIATELY. In addition, a medical professional should evaluate all eye burns as soon as possible.
Welding cables: Welders must place welding cable and other equipment so that it is clear of passageways, ladders, and stairways.
Audit Checklist for Welding Programs