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Important OSHA Safety Standards for Welding

Important OSHA Safety Standards for Welding
  • Opening Intro -

    The Occupational Standard and Health Administration (OSHA) has a wide range of laws and regulations that commercial businesses have to follow each and every day, including welding facilities.

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This list will introduce you to some of the important OSHA safety standards for welding so you can avoid maintaining dangerous, illegal business practices.

Fire Hazard Removal and Protection

Section 1910.252 paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(ii) address fire hazards and guards respectively. Specifically, (a)(1)(i) explains that if you have fire hazards in your facility and you can’t move the weld somewhere else, you must move the fire hazard to a safer part of the building.

However, as paragraph (a)(1)(ii) points out, sometimes you can’t relocate either the weld or fire hazard. In cases like this, protective guards are a requirement for keeping sparks, slag, and other dangerous debris from coming into contact with the aforementioned fire hazards.

Fire Watcher Response

Section 1910.252 paragraph (a)(2)(iii) addresses the subject of fire watchers (in reference to paragraph (a)(1)(ii)), who will monitor a work area for signs of a fire if flammable objects/materials are nearby.

Even with a protective guard in place, there still needs to be a fire watcher present. While 1910.252 (a)(2)(iii)(A) goes through the various scenarios in which a fire watcher should be present, some incredibly important pieces of information are under 1910.252 (a)(2)(iii)(B).

If a fire watcher is present but they don’t know how to respond to an emergency, then they’re of no use to the facility. Aside from when to be present, OSHA requires that fire watchers in welding facilities should be aware of the following:

  • Fire extinguishing equipment must be available at all times.
  • How to use the available fire extinguishing equipment.
  • Knowing when a fire is too intense to extinguish safely with the available equipment.
  • How to find and operate facility fire alarms when an emergency calls for it.
  • Watchers must stand guard as long as 30 minutes after the weld is complete.

Fire Extinguisher Availability

Speaking of fire extinguishers, directly before the section about fire watch, 1910.252(a)(2)(ii) briefly touches on fire extinguisher availability in reference to paragraph (a)(1)(ii). This section addresses how fire extinguishers, as OSHA puts it themselves, must be “maintained in a state of readiness for instant use.”

If you bought fire extinguishers but keep them in a closet, that’s the wrong way to do it. You should also avoid leaving obstructions in front of fire extinguishers. On the other hand, if the fire extinguisher is where it should be but is empty, you need to replace it immediately.

Another interesting fact from 1910.252(a)(2)(ii) is that your everyday fire extinguisher isn’t the only suitable form of fire extinguishing equipment. In some cases, a hose, pail of water, or bucket of sand can also act as suitable fire extinguishing equipment.

other valuable tips:

Although these are some of the most important OSHA safety standards for welding facilities to abide by, they’re not the only rules. There are plenty of basic welding safety guidelines as well as additional OSHA guidelines that need to be upheld each and every day, from good ventilation to the proper use of PPE. If you know and enforce these guidelines, you can maintain a safe, reputable workplace. You can find the above rules and many more easily through OSHA for further research.

Image Credit: OSHA safety standards by Pixabay

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