Welding Operations

1. Purpose 

a) The purpose of the ESCO Group Welding Operations program is to establish safe work procedures for the protection of our employees and others who may be affected by the hazards during welding operations. Such hazards as arc flash or radiation, burns, electric shock, exposure to fumes and gases, fire and explosion hazards, and slips, trips or falls. 

2. Responsibility 

a) It shall be the foreman/supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the following guidelines are implemented during welding operations. Each employee has the responsibility to follow the guidelines that are put in place while performing welding operations to safeguard against the hazard above. 

3. Guidelines 

a) Inspection of machines and work area: 

i. Prior to beginning the work, take a few minutes to read and understand the warnings and instructions that are on the nameplates and decals for the equipment as well as the consumables that you are going to be working with. 

ii. Suitable fire extinguishing equipment shall be immediately available in the work area and shall be maintained in a state of readiness for instant use.

iii. All welding equipment shall be inspected as required to assure it is in safe operating condition, if there is a pre-use inspection sheet for the machine, complete it. When the equipment is found to be defective or needs repaired, it must be tagged “DO NOT USE” and removed from service. A qualified individual must make the needed repairs. 

iv. Are all the connections tight including the ground to the work area?

v. Inspect the electrode holder and cable insulation for defects. 

vi. Check the settings on the machine to make sure they are correct for the type of work that you are performing. 

vii. Permission may be needed prior to beginning welding operations. This may be accomplished by obtaining a hot work permit from the area or system owner in the facility that work is being performed.

 
viii. Welding equipment shall be located so it does not present a hazard to employees or others in the area. Cords and hoses must not present a tripping hazard, good housekeeping rules must be followed, and the equipment must not block doorways, aisle ways and ladder access.

ix. When using protective screens for arc protection sparks and welds splatter from welding operations a non-combustible or flame resistant material must be used. 

x. If separating work stations or weld booths where welding operations are taking place they must be separated with a material made of a non-combustible or flame resistant material. 

4. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) 

a) A weld helmet with the proper shaded lenses and cover lenses must be worn by the person performing the task. In addition to the helmet the person must also wear a pair of protective eye glasses with side shields. Any person in the area that is viewing the work being performed, they must wear the same protection equal to or greater than the person performing the work. 

b) All employees must wear protective flame resistant gloves, such as leather, when performing welding operations. Gloves shall be dry, free from oil, grease, holes or other defects. 

c) Clothing shall provide protection from burns caused by sparks, splatter and radiation from welding operations. 

i. Sleeves and collars must be kept buttoned. 

ii. Trousers must not have cuffs and shall overlap the top of the shoe to prevent sparks from going inside the shoe. 

iii. Pockets must be free of combustible material

iv. Frayed clothing must not be worn. 

v. Other protective clothing such as leggings or sleeves may be needed to provide protection from heavy cutting, welding, overhead work or other operations when necessary. 

5. Fire Hazards 

a) Where practical welding operations shall be moved to a designated area designed for such. If work cannot be moved, all fire hazards need to be removed 35’ away. 

b) If there is a case where the work and the fire hazards cannot be moved, the safeguards must be put in place such as non-flammable or non-combustible covers and fire watches must be present. 

c) If the welding or cutting operations cannot be performed safely the operations must not be performed or it the operations are in progress, the work must cease immediately.

d) All cracks or openings in walls or floors near the work area must be covered or closed using a non-flammable or non-combustible material. 

e) Where it is necessary to observe welding operations that are hidden from the view of a single watch such as partitions, walls or ceilings additional fire watches shall be posted. 

f) Fire watches shall be qualified individuals knowledgeable about fire reporting and emergency procedures. 

g) Duties of the watch(s) 

i. Trained in the use of fire extinguishers 

ii. Familiar with facilities alarm system if needed 

iii. Detect and prevent the spread of fires 

iv. Remain in the area for 30 minutes after hot work is completed. 

6. Ventilation 

a) Adequate ventilation shall be provided for all welding operations, ventilation shall be such that personnel exposure to hazardous concentrations of air borne contaminants are maintained below the OSHA permissible exposure limits. 

b) There are different methods to achieve adequate ventilation, they are as follows: 

i. Natural Ventilation is the movement of air through the workplace caused by natural forces, open doors and windows. 

ii. Mechanical Ventilation is the movement of air through the workplace by a device such as a portable fan or a fixed mechanical device or source extraction a mechanical device used to collect the fumes near the work and moves them away from the work area. 

c) If adequate ventilation cannot be achieved, than respirators must be worn and respirator standard must be followed. 

7. Training

a) All welders and supervisors shall receive training on the safe use of welding and cutting equipment and their processes, safe work practices, personal protective equipment, and emergency procedures.  All individuals involved in the welding operations will be trained for the fire watch duties; this includes the safe operation of fire extinguishing equipment.



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