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Hazard Related Topics


Welding is a 'hot work' process during which all of the precautions adopted for hot work should be utilised. On construction sites the materials to be welded are often painted steel and galvanized steel which involve the production of hazardous fumes in addition to those generated by the welding process itself.

Principal Hazards

  • Arc Eye - this is a condition, sometimes severe, caused by welding flash. It can affect the welder, other people on site and the general public.
  • Burns - welding is a hot process.
  • Fire - the heat and sparks generated by the process are a very real hazard.
  • Fumes - produced by the process and the materials being welded.
  • Electricity - welding is an electrical process.

Those at risk

  • The welder, other workers around him and the general public are all at risk during the welding process.

Control Measures

  • The equipment - Before starting work the welder must check to ensure that the welding equipment is in good condition. The welding lead, return lead and earth lead must be sound and the electrode holder is fully insulated or provided with an insulated handle. The welding equipment must be adequately earthed and there must be an operational fire extinguisher on hand in case of fire.
  • The welding area - This should be clear of rubbish and other flammable materials or liquids. Other workers should be excluded from the area and the area of work screened off by the use of welding tents etc. The welder must be acquainted with any 'Hot Work Permit' regime in operation on the site and must follow it.
  • Fumes - Welding fumes can be extremely harmful and it is vital that adequate ventilation is available at all times. Whilst most welding on site is carried out in the open and therefore natural ventilation is adequate, welding carried out inside must be provided with local exhaust ventilation. If the welding is to be carried out in a confined space it may be necessary for the welder to use a respirator for protection against fumes. The welding rods used should be of the least hazardous type.
  • Personal Protective Equipment - Welding is a process where protective equipment must be used. Goggles or a visor or a hand shield to BS 1542. Ensure the visor has adequate ventilation. Gloves must be impervious and fire resisting. Coveralls should be fire retardant and suitable to prevent the accumulation and penetration of fumes and dust.
  • Training and supervision. The welder must be the holder of a welding certificate and it must be ensured that he follows a safe method of work.

See Also