Preventing Welding-Related Accidents in the Construction Industry
Selected Topics from 29 CFR 1926 Subpart J,
The Guidance Document for Occupational Safety & Health
for Welding Operations in the Construction Industry is:
Title 29 (of the) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1926
Subpart J, which contains Sections .350 through .354
OSHA Standards by Design. What is the Intention?
- To prevent occupational injuries and illnesses
- To facilitate a logical progression towards the attainment
of optimal workplace safety & health
- To address the most common occurrences of workplace accidents
in each discipline Items covered in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart J include:
- Gas Welding & Cutting (1926.350)
- Arc Welding & Cutting (1926.351)
- Fire Protection (1926.352)
- Ventilation (1926.353)
- Welding & Cutting [on materials covered with] Protective
The Occupational Safety & Health Act was signed into Federal
Law in 1970. The OSHA Standards were derived from:
- Consensus standards developed by industrial and educational
- Input from independent professionals
- Experts in occupational injuries
- Experts in related fields
Standards Incorporated by Reference to 29 CFR 1926, Subpart J
- Compressed Gas Association (Pamphlet P-1-1965)
- Department of Transportation, 49 CFR part 178, subpart C,
and part 192
- American National Standards Institute, Z49.1-1967, Safety
in Welding and Cutting
When researching the source documents, MAKE SURE you have the
correct Publication Date! OSHA Standards are footnoted with references
to the Federal Register, e.g. "44 FR 8577, Feb. 9, 1979"
These texts contain the discussions which led to the development
and adoption of the standards.
- "44" refers to the Volume of the Federal Register.
- "8577" is the beginning page number.
- The date of publication is used to determine the effective
Facilitating a Safe and Healthful Working Environment
The Mission of the S&H Professional
- Apply the standards in accordance with the specific needs
of the workplace.
- Policy must be developed to address those items covered in
- The policy may be modified to meet the experience of the
- Ensure that the policy is "no less stringent" than
The FIRST step in the logical progression of events is to ANALYZE
Analyzing the Specific Needs of the Workplace
- What operations are being performed?
- What are the components of each operation?
- What conditions directly and most adversely effect safety?
- Are there inherent hazards associated with the tasks?
- Are the hazards variable by nature?
An understanding of the whole can only be achieved by understanding
each of the parts.
Conditions That Directly Effect Safety & Health in Welding
- Since welding and cutting are "hot" processes,
the danger of fires and explosions are ever present concerns...
- Fire prevention is a major priority.
There are four acceptable options for preventing fires and explosions
caused by welding & cutting processes.
- Move the combustibles away from the welding
- Move the welding away from the combustibles
- Protect the combustibles from exposure
- DON'T WELD OR CUT!
Separate the Combustibles From the Welding/Cutting Operation
- Welding and cutting operations must be separated from combustibles
by at least 35 feet.
- This distance should be multiplied by at least 2.5 when the
welding/cutting operation is suspended over combustibles.
Protect the Combustibles From Welding/Cutting Operations
- This option should only be chosen when the welding/cutting
operation and the combustibles cannot be adequately separated.
- Protective barriers may include fire blankets, steel partitions,
or other types of covers.
- A FIRE WATCHER must also be present.
Duties and Specifications for the Fire Watcher
- The Fire Watcher must be adequately trained to operate fire
- The Fire Watcher must be properly instructed on what to do
if a fire occurs.
- The Fire Watcher must remain at the task for at least 1/2
hour after the welding/cutting has been completed.
Special Notes for Preventing Fire & Explosions due to Welding
- Find out what's on the other side of the wall.
- Watch out for closed containers.
- Don't expose electric lines or hydraulic lines to heat.
Unsafe Equipment Promotes Occupational Accidents & Illnesses
- Check the equipment thoroughly and often, especially after
it has been moved.
- Check hoses, regulators, valves, power conductors, leads,
transformers, and restraining devices.
- Keep the equipment clean and free of rust, moisture, and
Safety Means Communicating
- Coordination of efforts promotes safety.
- Workers who are assigned tasks near welding/cutting processes
must know how to avoid the associated risks.
- Welders must communicate with one another on safety matters
such as ground connections, material stresses, etc.
- Illnesses may be either acute or chronic
- Illnesses suffered by welders/cutters are generally caused
by the hot process or a result of working in confined spaces
- You must know and understand the hazards associated with
the materials to which the welder/cutter is exposed
Compile ALL the MSDS
- An MSDS must be available AT THE JOB SITE for every material
and substance found on the work site
- Each welder must be informed on the hazards associated with
the materials and substances found on the job
- Each welder must be adequately protected from injury that
may result from exposure to the job hazards Some MSDS Include:
- Welding rods, fluxes, gases, and resins
- Base metals which are fabricated by the welding processes
- Coatings found on the base metal or close to the welding
processes * Watch out for chlorinated solvents, lead, nickel,
chromium, cadmium, fluorine, tin, brass/bronze, copper, zinc,
aluminum, vanadium, selenium, silver...
Inherent Hazards Associated With Welding and Cutting
- UV and IR light sources (lens shade)
- Thermal burns (gloves, shoes, hood)
- Heat stress (water, breaks, scheduling)
- Cuts (materials handling gloves)
- Trip/Fall injuries (housekeeping)
- "Struck by" injuries (shoes, hard hats)
- Those to which any other worker may be exposed
You MUST be Familiar With and Expect Variations in the WORKPLACE
- The nature and degree of exposure to hazards changes from
day to day
- This is especially true in the construction industry
- The only way you can keep up with new developments is to
get out of the office and onto the job site
- REMEMBER: no two jobs are ever the same.
No One Individual Can Reasonably be Expected to Know Everything
(contrary to what some people would have you believe)
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