Welding, Grinding, and Cutting Safety

There are many different hazards that welders face in a number of various industries. OSHA has clear guidelines for safety during welding, grinding, cutting, and brazing to help protect workers who face potential fires, explosions, accidental contact, contamination, and breathing hazards.

Fire Protection

Welding, grinding, and cutting should be allowed only in areas that have been made fire safe. If the work cannot be moved, combustible materials must be removed or protected from ignition sources. In that case, OSHA says that guards should be used to confine the heat, sparks, and slag and protect the fire hazards that cannot be moved.

Additionally, if floor openings or cracks cannot be closed or sealed off, precautions must be taken so that no combustible materials could fall through the floor if ignited. Fire extinguishers must be maintained and on standby for immediate use. Other fire extinguishing equipment can include fire blankets, buckets of sand, pails of water, or a hose.

Fire watchers are required whenever welding, grinding, or cutting is being done in a location where more serious fires may occur, and they must be equipped with fire extinguishing equipment that they are trained to use. They need to watch for fires in exposed areas, try to extinguish them with sufficient equipment, and sound the alarm when the fire becomes too dangerous for them to handle. Fire watches should continue for at least 30 minutes after the work is completed to ensure there are no smoldering fires.

A product recently introduced by Allegro Industries that aids in protecting your employees from flames and sparks is their brand new Flame-Resistant Spray Sock! Worn over the head, it protects your worker’s face, ears, and neck from any potential fire hazard caused by welding, cutting, or grinding.

Ventilation

Employees who grind, cut, or weld are likely to experience contamination based on the dimensions of their workspace, the number of employees working there, and the hazardous fumes, gases, or dust that might be caused by the metals they are working with. When working in a screened area, the screens should be arranged so that no serious restriction of ventilation occurs. Employers should mount screens about 2 feet off the floor unless the work being performed is at a level that requires the screen to be moved towards the ground.

Companies should supply local exhaust or general ventilating systems to keep the level of toxic fumes, gases, or dust below the maximum allowable concentration. All welding, grinding, and cutting done in confined spaces must be ventilated to prevent the buildup of toxic materials, which could lead to a lack of oxygen. OSHA recommends using airline respirators or self-contained units that are approved by and meet the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) standards.

Allegro offers a wide assortment of ventilation products that keep workers safe while either cutting, grinding, or welding:

Personnel Protection

OSHA states that employers must make sure that welders working on platforms, scaffolds, or runways have the proper fall protection, such as railings, safety belts, lifelines, or other equally effective safeguards. Employees must also have the appropriate protective clothing to wear while welding.

Eye protection must be provided to all grinders, welders, and assistants in the form of goggles, browguards, or other suitable equipment. They must not be flammable and should be able to withstand sterilization. They also must be ventilated to prevent lens fog, while the lens glass should be tempered and marked permanently so employees can easily distinguish between shades. Allegro offers the following:

Helmets or shields must be used during all forms of welding, grinding, or cutting and made of a material that is an insulator for heat and electricity. They should protect the face, neck, and ears from direct radiant energy. Allegro offers a wide assortment of personal protection equipment that keep workers safe:

Contact Allegro Industries today at 800-622-3530 or custsvc@allegrosafety.com for all of your grinding, cutting, or welding Personal Protective Equipment needs!