General Welding Safety Guidelines
1. Only approved experienced and trained staff may engage in welding operations.
2. All welding equipment must only be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Welding equipment must be serviced by a competent person as per the manufacturer’s suggested intervals.
4. Welding equipment must be visually inspected before each use and damaged units reported to the laboratory manager / supervisor. Damaged welding equipment must not be used until they have been examined by a competent person. Pay particular attention to gas lines and electrical cables.
5. Always assess the immediate working area before starting any work. Remove all combustible materials within the immediate work area, if this is not possible, then cover same with a fire blanket. Whenever possible welding should take place in a dedicated welding booth.
6. Place ‘welding in progress’ signs beside work area, before starting any welding process outside of a dedicated welding booth.
7. A fire extinguisher and fire blanket must always be available to the welder.
8. When welding, the proper personal protective equipment must be used (see below). Users of such equipment must inspect it before use to ensure that it is not damaged in any way that would reduce its effectiveness.
9. When welding in a confined, difficult or dangerous location, check that there is adequate ventilation. Do not weld galvanised or coated materials in enclosed areas without good ventilation. (Fumes are harmful)
10. Always consider the need for a post welding fire watch, especially when work has been carried out outside of a dedicated welding booth.
11. Do not weld material that has been degreased with solvents, unless it is absolutely dry and the area is well ventilated.
12. There must be sufficient space around the working area in order to allow the operator a free range of movement.
13. There must be sufficient light to see the piece being worked clearly.
14. Never leave active welding equipment unattended.
15. Keep the floor of the working area free of oil and grease.
16. Ensure that proper manual handling techniques are employed when manipulating work pieces and welding equipment
Oxy - Acetylene Cutting
1. Always ensure that cylinders are kept upright and are stored in a suitable trolley or are chained to a wall.
2. When not in use the cylinder valves must always be closed
3. When a cylinder is empty, the valve must be closed immediately and the hose disconnected.
4. If acetylene cylinders have been allowed to lie flat, then they must be allowed to stand and settle in an upright position for a minimum of one hour before being used. Failure to do this may result in liquid acetone being ejected from the cylinder which is a significant fire risk.
5. Always ensure that gas lines have properly fitted flash back arrestors.
6. Users should be aware that gas lines, especially the acetylene line, will degrade over time and may harden and crack. Regular checks of gas lines along their entire length must be made.
7. Where possible do not allow gas lines to be forced into shape, they should be allowed to hang freely without any force being applied to them.
8. Oxygen cylinders, lines, valves and connections must be completely clean of grease, oil or detergent – never use material such as these to effect a join on an oxygen line, this is a significant explosion risk.
9. Hose joins must be made using proper couplings.
10. All hoses must be of the correct bore size, pressure rating, length and colour coding : Blue – Oxygen; Red - Acetylene and other fuel gases; Black - Inert and non-combustible gases – Orange - L.P.G.
11. The welding plant system should be checked, on a regular basis, under pressure for leaks, using an approved leak detection solution. DO NOT USE detergent for oxygen leak testing.
12. Hoses of sufficient length must be used, to allow cylinders to be positioned safely away from flying sparks and hot metal.
13. Hoses must be laid out in such away, that they are not subject to damage or will present a tripping hazard to other people
14. A cylinder key must be left in the valve of the acetylene cylinder during welding or cutting operations.
15. If clothing becomes impregnated with oxygen, ventilate them by walking in fresh (open) air for at least 15 minutes, --- AVOID ALL SOURCES OF IGNITION.
16. Cutting goggles must be worn at all times to protect the eyes against glare and flying sparks.
17. A suitable flame retardant apron or boiler suit must be worn at all times.
18. Purpose made welding gloves must be worn at all times.
Electrical Arc/MMA Welding
1. Always ensure that the power supply is maintained in an appropriate condition and that all live cables are suitable protected. Units which are damaged in any way must not be used as they represent a significant shock risk. Refer to UCD Risk Assessment UCDA19 Electricity (General) for details on electrical safety in the workplace.
2. An appropriate face shield must be work at all times.
3. All exposed skin should be covered when arc welding.
4. A suitable flame retardant apron or boiler suit must be worn at all times.
5. Purpose made welding gloves must be worn at all times.
6. Ensure that there are no nearby bystanders as they may be exposed to UV light. Always consider the use of welding curtains.
7. If using a high frequency AC power source do not allow any person with a pacemaker to come within 2m of the unit or the weld site.
8. All equipment must be properly earthed and insulated. Units with damaged insulation must not be used and must be removed from service.
9. All cables and connections must be in good condition and securely attached.
10. When welding in wet conditions, leads and couplings must be kept dry.
11. When welding in wet or damp conditions an insulation mat must be used.
12. Only approved cable couplings must be used.
13. Electricity supply must be 110v from a transformer through a 32 amp socket. If 110v not available then 240v can be used through using a protection RCD plug.
14. Primary leads should be armoured and be as short as possible.
15. Do not use shielding gases in poorly ventilated areas.
Working in Confined Spaces
I will at all times have someone on watch to monitor any hazards or incidences which may occur.
Provision will be made for adequate ventilation and lighting in the working area.
The area of work will be assessed and an adequate and safe plan will be worked out prior to work commencing for in the event of any accidents occurring to have a safe escape route to safety.
Gathering points will be discussed beforehand in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Provisions for first aid will be in place in the event of any accidents occurring
Fire extinguishers will be read at hand in the event of any fires breaking out