Welding Safety Guide (Spanish)

OSHA’s standard for welding and cutting in general industry (29 CFR 1910, Subpart Q) includes fire prevention, personal protective equipment, health protection and ventilation, requirements for oxygen-fuel gas welding and cutting, and requirements for arc welding and cutting.

Fire Prevention

  • If the object to be welded or cut cannot be readily moved, all movable fire hazards must be removed from the area.
  • If the object to be welded or cut cannot be moved, and fire hazards cannot be removed, then guards must be used to confine the heat, sparks, and slag from contacting the immovable fire hazards.
  • Whenever there are cracks or holes in floors, walls, open doorways or windows, precautions should be taken to prevent sparks from falling through these openings and onto combustible materials.
  • Suitable fire extinguishing equipment must be maintained in a state of readiness for instant use during all welding and cutting operations.
  • A fire watch is required whenever welding or cutting is performed in locations where other than a minor fire could develop. If there are combustible materials within 35 feet, a fire watch is generally required. See specific OSHA instructions detailing when a fire watch is required (29 CFR 19010.252 (a)(2)(iii).
  • The fire watch must be maintained for all welding and cutting operations and for at least 30 minutes after completion of welding/cutting to detect and extinguish possible smoldering fires.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Suitable eye protection must be required during all welding and cutting operations. Helmets are required for arc welding and arc cutting. Suitable goggles or other eye protection is required for gas welding and oxygen cutting operations. All helmets and eye protection must be approved, and the filter lenses should be appropriately rated for the welding/cutting activity being performed.
  • Appropriate protective clothing should be provided to all workers exposed to welding or cutting hazards. The appropriate protective clothing will vary according to the size, nature, and location of the work to be performed.

Health Protection and Ventilation

  • Local exhaust and general ventilation systems must be provided and arranged to keep the amount of fumes, gases, or dusts below maximum allowable concentrations.
  • For general welding operations, mechanical ventilation must be provide at a rate of 2,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm), per welder; or local exhaust ventilation must be used if ANY of the following workplace conditions apply:
    1. There is less than 10,000 cubic feet space per welder in an area.
    2. Ceiling height is less than 16 feet in a room.
    3. Partitions, balconies, or other structural barriers significantly obstruct cross ventilation.
  • Special ventilation requirements apply to welding or cutting done in confined spaces.
  • If respirators are required, the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 1910.134) must be followed.
  • Specific welding and ventilation requirements must be followed if the welding or cutting involves any of the following toxic materials: fluorine compounds, zinc, lead, beryllium, cadmium mercury, hazardous cleaning compounds, chlorinated hydrocarbon degreasing compounds, or stainless steel. These specific requirements are found in 29 CFR 1910.252(c)(5) through (c)(12).
  • Appropriate first aid equipment must be available at all times.

General Requirements for Oxygen-Fueled Gas Welding and Cutting

  • All gas cylinders must be appropriately marked to identify the gas content.
  • Acetylene cylinders must be stored valve end up.
  • Cylinders must be stored away from sources of heat and at least 20 feet from highly-combustible materials.
  • Oxygen and acetylene cylinders must be separated from fuel gas cylinders of combustible materials by a distance of at least 20 feet, or by a non-combustible barrier that is at least five feet high and has a fire-resistance rating of at least 30 minutes.
  • All cylinders must be chained or otherwise secured during storage and must have the valves closed and the valve protection caps in place.
  • Cylinders, cylinder valves, couplings, regulators, hose, and apparatus must be kept free from oily or greasy substances.
  • Special requirements apply to the mani-folding of cylinders or gas piping systems (see 29 CFR 1910.253[c] and [d]).

General Requirements for Arc Welding and Cutting

  • Welding equipment must be chosen for safe application for the work to be done. All equipment should be used, inspected, and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
  • For all types of arc welding machines, the control apparatus must be enclosed except for operating wheel, levers or handles. Input power terminals, tap change devices, and live metal parts connected to input circuits should be completely enclosed and only accessible by means of tools.
  • Terminals for welding leads should be protected from accidental electrical contact by personnel or by metal objects. The frame or case of the welding machine must be properly grounded.
  • Before starting operations, all connections to the machine must be checked to make sure they are properly made.
  • Cables with splices within 10 feet of the holder must not be used.
  • Cables with damaged insulation or exposed bare conductors must be replaced.

• OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Q

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NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.