Welding and cutting can be hot, hazardous jobs. Trying to perform these jobs in a confined space, however, raises the risk. The problems welders encounter from a wide range of atmospheric hazards, such as fluorides, lead, zinc and toxic cleaning compounds, are only exacerbated by close quarters. That’s why it’s so important for site safety managers to ensure proper precautions are being taken by their welders who work in confined spaces.
An overview of the safety precautions that must be performed both before and during welding includes the following items:
There are still more safety precautions to take, however, concerning welding tasks.
For example, when arc welding is suspended for any substantial period of time (such as a lunch break), all electrodes must be removed from the holders. The holders should be placed so that accidental contact cannot occur and machines should be disconnected from their power sources. The same holds true for torch valves: when welding / cutting stops for a significant amount of time, the torch valves must be closed, the gas supply positively shut off at a point outside of the confined space and, where practical, the torch and hose removed from the confined space.
Positive-pressure respirator (PPR) systems, or supplied air respirators with loose-fitting face-pieces, hoods or helmets and powered air-purifying respirators, are increasingly being regarded as valuable workplace productivity tools. In addition to protecting workers’ eyes, head and face from airborne contaminants, this equipment can also guard against heat stress when combined with a cooling system.