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Essential Health and Safety for Welding Techniques

Last updated:
May 4, 2024
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Table Of Contents

I. General Points on Welding Safety and Health Protection

  • Welders should undergo safety education, pass examinations, and hold a job certificate.
  • Every welder must firmly establish safety awareness, be familiar with and comply with safety technical codes to prevent accidents.
  • Personnel engaged in electric welding should understand the structure and performance of the welding machines they operate, strictly follow safety operating procedures, correctly use protective gear, and master emergency methods for electric shocks.
  • Welding and cutting containers, pipelines, and equipment that have contained flammable, explosive materials, strong oxidizers, or toxic materials must comply with safety regulations, take safety measures, and obtain hot work permits from the enterprise and fire management departments.
  • The workplace for welding and cutting should have fire-fighting equipment, such as fire hydrants, sandboxes, fire extinguishers, water buckets, etc.
  • The workplace should have good ventilation to facilitate the removal of harmful gases, dust, and smoke.
  • The workplace should have good natural lighting and local illumination, with an illuminance of 50~1001x on the work surface.
  • It is prohibited to weld or cut on containers, tanks, cabinets, pipelines, and equipment that are pressurized or electrified, or both pressurized and electrified.
  • It is forbidden to entangle welding cables, gas hoses, and steel ropes together at the welding and cutting site.
  • When cutting metal materials directly on a cement floor, measures should be taken to prevent burns caused by sparks.
  • Containers that contain residual grease, flammable liquids, or gases must be thoroughly cleaned and have their covers opened before welding or cutting.
  • Welding and cutting are prohibited in rooms and areas where flammable and explosive materials are stored. If necessary, consent and cooperation from the fire department should be obtained.
  • When welding or cutting outdoors, windbreak facilities should be provided to prevent sparks from causing fires. Welding outdoors is not suitable when the wind force exceeds level 5.
  • When working inside metal containers, there should be a supervisor present; prevent electric shock; the container should be well ventilated; welders should wear dry work clothes and rubber shoes.
  • The environmental mechanical noise level at the workplace should not exceed 85dB.
  • Welders working at heights should comply with relevant safety regulations for high-altitude operations.
  • After welding or cutting work is finished, carefully check the surroundings of the workplace to ensure there are no fire hazards before leaving the site.
  • When researching and adopting new processes and technologies, relevant measures for safety technology and occupational health must be considered simultaneously.

II. Key Points of Safety and Health Protection for Electrode Arc Welding

The main hazards of electrode arc welding are electric shock, and the main harmful factors are welding fumes and arc light. The impact of harmful gases can only be ignored when welding in confined spaces. See Table 13-46 for the key points of safety and health protection in electrode arc welding.

Table 13-46 Key Points of Safety and Health Protection for Electrode Arc Welding

Hazard factorsProtection key points
Electric shockImplement correct grounding and neutral connection for each welding machine; install anti-electric shock energy-saving devices on each welding machine; welders should wear insulating welding gloves and work shoes; comply with safety operating procedures
Welding arc lightUse qualified performance, appropriate shade number goggles; wear personal protective equipment; set up arc light protection screens to avoid cross-influence
Welding fumesAdopt comprehensive ventilation, local ventilation or smoke extractor units and other dust control measures; regularly monitor the concentration of welding fumes at the welding site, if it exceeds the national standard of 6mg/m³, improve ventilation and dust removal measures or wear dust masks, use ventilation helmets if necessary; as an auxiliary measure, low dust, low toxicity welding rods can be used

III. Safety and health protection points for gas welding and cutting

The main hazards of gas welding and cutting are fire and explosion, the main content of fire and explosion prevention safety technology has been described in previous related articles. Table 13-47 shows the protection points for gas welding and cutting.

Table 13-47 Safety and Health Protection Points for Gas Welding and Cutting

Main Hazard FactorsProtection Points
Acetylene Generator Combustion ExplosionProhibit the use of float-type acetylene generators; phase out all types of acetylene generators as soon as possible and switch to dissolved acetylene cylinders
Cylinder Combustion ExplosionImplement the safety technical points listed in Table 13-21
Dust and Harmful GasesWhen gas welding non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminum, local ventilation and dust removal measures should be taken
Intense Flame LightWear gas welding goggles

When performing gas welding of non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminum, and gas flame brazing of brass, due to the presence of harmful components in the welding fumes (such as white flocculent zinc oxide fumes when welding brass), local ventilation and dust removal measures should be taken, and dust masks should be worn.

IV. Key points of safety and health protection for CO2 gas shielded welding

The main hazards of CO2 gas shielded welding are harmful gases CO, fumes, and intense arc light. See Table 13-48 for the key points of safety and health protection for CO2 gas shielded welding.

Table 13-48 Key points of safety and health protection for CO2 gas shielded welding

Main hazard factorsProtection key points
Harmful gases and fumesWear a mask to prevent direct inhalation of dense smoke; adopt comprehensive ventilation, local ventilation, smoke extractor units, smoke extraction welding guns, etc., for ventilation and dust removal; in closed or semi-sealed narrow spaces, focus on monitoring the concentration of CO and CO2, and if it exceeds health standards, immediately take effective ventilation and air exchange measures
Electric welding arc lightIsolation protection; use qualified protective eyewear filters; wear face shields, work clothes, gloves, and other protective gear
Electric shockComply with electrical safety regulations; ground the welding machine casing; when using a water-cooled welding gun, be careful to prevent electric shock caused by leaks; wear insulating welding gloves and work shoes and other personal protective equipment

V. Safety and Health Protection Points for Argon Arc Welding

The main harmful factors of argon arc welding are harmful gases, welding fumes, and intense arc light. When using tungsten electrode argon arc welding, there may also be radioactive contamination and high-frequency electromagnetic radiation issues.

The main harmful gases during argon arc welding are ozone and nitrogen oxides. The ultraviolet intensity produced during argon arc welding is 5 to 30 times that of stick arc welding. See Table 13-49 for safety and health protection points for argon arc welding.

Table 13-49 Safety and Health Protection Points for Argon Arc Welding

Main hazard factorsProtection points
Electric shockWhen the no-load voltage of the power supply used is high, automatic welding processes should be used as much as possible, and measures such as welding machine grounding and checking the welding machine before work should be taken to prevent electric shock.
Harmful gases and fumesImplement comprehensive ventilation, local ventilation, and smoke exhaust units for dust removal, with a focus on monitoring the concentration of ozone and fumes; try to work inside a sealed cover (operated from outside the cover) or use robotic arms, remote control, etc.; in places difficult to ventilate, wear ventilated helmets; enhance personal protection.
Arc lightIsolation protection; use eye protection filters that meet the requirements for shading number and transmittance; wear face shields and UV-resistant work clothes, gloves, and other protective gear.
RadiationUse cerium tungsten electrodes; grind tungsten electrodes with a dust-proof grinding wheel; store tungsten electrodes in a covered lead box.

VI. Safety and Health Protection Points for Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting

The main hazards of plasma arc welding and cutting are electric shock, and the main harmful factors are harmful gases, welding fumes, more intense arc light, and noise, etc. The safety and health protection points for plasma arc welding and cutting are shown in Table 13-50.

Table 13-50 Safety and Health Protection Points for Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting

Main hazard factorsKey points of protection
Electric shockComply with electrical safety regulations; when the no-load voltage of the power supply used is high, try to use automatic welding (cutting) processes, and take measures to prevent electric shock such as grounding the welding machine, checking the welding machine before work; the insulation of the part of the welding (cutting) gun that contacts the hand must be reliable; exposed switches must be covered with insulating rubber sleeves; for water-cooled welding guns and cutting torches, frequently check the waterways to prevent electric shock caused by water leakage
Harmful gases and fumesSame as the key points of protection for argon arc welding
Intense arc lightSame as the key points of protection for argon arc welding
NoiseIsolation protection, establish an isolated workshop; use shallow underwater plasma cutting; enhance personal protection (wear earmuffs or earplugs)

VII. Key Points for Safety Protection in Resistance Welding

The main hazard in resistance welding is electric shock, which often occurs when the primary coil of the resistance welding transformer is damaged. During spot welding and flash butt welding, burns to welders and fires are often caused by metal splatter and the spraying of liquid metal sparks. In addition, mechanical injuries also frequently occur during the resistance welding process. See Table 13-51 for key points on safety protection in resistance welding.

Table 13-51 Key Points for Safety Protection in Resistance Welding

Main Hazard FactorsProtection Key Points
Electric ShockComply with electrical safety regulations; the welding machine must have a reliable grounding or neutralizing device; water channels in water-cooled welding machines must be intact and leak-free, and water flow should be smooth; maintenance and adjustment of the control box should be carried out by professionals
Burns and FireInstall protective barriers or screens on the welding machine; enhance personal protection, wear colorless goggles, gloves; flammable materials are strictly prohibited at the work site
Mechanical InjuryThe foot switch of the welding machine should have a sturdy protective cover to prevent accidental start-up; mechanized operation

VIII. Key Points of Hygiene Protection for Carbon Arc Air Gouging

The main harmful factors of carbon arc air gouging are dust and harmful gases. One factory measured an average dust concentration of 337mg/m³ at the worksite, while a shipyard measured a dust concentration as high as 1560mg/m³ inside the cabin during operations.

Since the carbon rods used in air gouging are bonded with asphalt and copper-plated on the surface, the dust from carbon arc air gouging contains 1%~1.5% (mass fraction) of copper and the highly toxic benzo(a)pyrene. Therefore, ventilation must be ensured during carbon arc air gouging. The protective measures for carbon arc air gouging are the same as those for shielded metal arc welding.

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