Facilities Management

Welding, Cutting and Brazing Safety Program

This welding, cutting and brazing program is designed to protect life and property from fire, atmospheric contaminants, and other associated hazards that may occur during these operations. This program applies to all of those employees who may perform welding, cutting, or brazing as part of their job function.

Basic precautions for fire prevention the object to be welded should be moved to a safe place, when possible. If the object cannot be readily moved, all movable fire hazards in the vicinity shall be moved to a safe location. If the object cannot be readily moved and all fire hazards cannot be removed, guards shall be used to confine the heat, sparks, and slag, and protect immovable fire hazards, ( ie. curtains). A fire watch is required whenever there is a possibility of fire developing. The fire watchers will have fire extinguishing equipment immediately available and shall be trained in its use. They will also be familiar with the methods used to sound an alarm. The fire watch must be maintained for at least ½ hour after welding operations have stopped.

A fire watch is required whenever there is a possibility of a fire developing or any of the following conditions exist:

  1. Appreciable combustible materials, in building construction or contents, are closer than 35 feet to the point of operation.
  2. Appreciable combustibles are more than 35 feet away, but are easily ignited by sparks.
  3. Wall or flooring openings within 35 foot radius expose combustible material in adjacent areas including concealed spaces in walls or floors.
  4. Combustibles materials are adjacent to opposite side of metal patricians, walls, ceilings, or roofs and are likely to be ignited by conduction or radiation.

If the following requirements above cannot be followed, welding and cutting shall not be performed.

Hot Work Permits written must be completed by supervisory personnel prior to any welding, cutting, or brazing operations. This permit must be kept at the worksite while work is being performed. Completed permits shall be maintained in file for a period of one year. Special precautions which must be considered include:

  1. Combustible Material: remove, or protect from sparks and hot slag.
  2. Fire extinguishers: maintain for instant use.
  3. Prohibited areas: Welding, cutting and brazing is not permitted in areas which have not been authorized.

Do not weld, cut or braze in:

  • Atmospheres where flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dusts are present
  • Storage areas where there are large quantities of exposed, readily ignitable materials

When working on platforms, scaffolds, or runways, welders and their helpers shall be protected against falling by use of railings, safety belts, life lines, or other effective safeguards. Helmets or hand shields shall be used during all arc welding. All helpers & attendants shall be provided with proper eye protection. Goggles or other suitable eye protection shall be used during all gas welding or oxygen cutting operations. Spectacles with side shields and suitable filter lenses are required during gas welding operations on light work, torch brazing, and for inspections. Helmets and hand shields shall be arranged to protect face, neck, and ears from direct radiant energy from the arc.

A confined space is defined as a relatively small or restricted space such as a tank, boiler, pressure vessel, or manhole. Ventilation is a prerequisite to work in confined spaces. Gas cylinders and welding machines shall be left outside. Heavy portable equipment mounted on wheels shall be securely blocked. Whenever a welder must enter a confined space through a small opening of manhole, means shall be provided to quickly remove him in the event of an emergency. Safety belts and lifelines used for this purpose shall be attached to the welder’s body so that his body cannot be jammed in a small exit opening.

Mechanical ventilation shall be provided when welding or cutting is performed on metals not listed below. These metals have their own specific allowable concentration/ventilation requirements: fluorine compounds, zinc, lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, cleaning compounds, and stainless steels. General requirements mechanical ventilation is needed when:

  1. Space is less than 10,000 cubic feet per welder
  2. Ceiling height in room is less than 16 feet
  3. In confined spaces, or where welding space contains partitions or other structural barriers which may obstruct cross ventilation

Mechanical ventilation at a minimum rate of 2,000 cubic feet per minute per welder, except where local exhaust hoods, booths, or airline respirators are provided. Ventilation in confined spaces must be provided to prevent accumulation of toxic fumes or possible oxygen deficiency. This includes not only the welder, but also helpers and other the welder, but also helpers and other personnel in the immediate vicinity. All make up air that is drawn into the area of operation, must be clean and respirable.