Basic welding safety rules

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Contents

Basics

  • ALWAYS wear a proper face shield.
  • ALWAYS wear close-toed shoes.
  • ALWAYS wear a long-sleeved, non-flammable shirt.
  • ALWAYS wear proper welding gloves.
  • ALWAYS wear ear protection (earplugs or muffs) to prevent sparks from entering your ear canal. An eardrum punctured by a spark will instantly cauterize and never heal.
  • NEVER weld on or near anything that's been cleaned with a chlorinated hydrocarbon like brake-cleaner. When combined with UV light, chlorinated hydrocarbons can create phosgene gas, which can cause serious injury or death. Ventilation will not prevent poisoning.
  • If you burn yourself, immediately douse with cold water: seconds count!

Fire

Make sure the weld area is free from all flammable materials such as flammable liquids, paper, etc. Do not wear clothing or gloves that have been exposed to flammable liquids.

Electrocution

Before turning on a welding machine, make sure there are no puddles of water on the floor around the weld bench or the machine. Make sure the weld machine is dry, including the main box, the torch, the pedal, and the plug.

There is little risk of fatal electrocution from a properly working TIG weld machine. When the user presses on the pedal to initiate the arc, a high-frequency low amplitude arc will emit from the tip of the weld torch. Once the machine detects the grounded metal piece that is to be welded, the arc will switch over to a high-amplitude DC current. Even if the operator deliberately points it toward their body, the shock will be mild, since the machine will not switch over to the high amplitude current.

Burns

Welded metal will remain hot for several minutes after it is welded. In most cases the heat is localized near the weld itself. In the case of more conductive materials, such as copper and aluminum, the heat may be more distributed throughout the material.

In the case of TIG welding, sparks and spatter are non-existent, unless rusty or dirty metal is used. MIG welding steel will create sparks, so earplugs and full coverage safety glasses should be worn to prevent burns to sensitive tissue.

Gloves must be worn when welding and handling recently welded material. White cotton welding gloves may be used for light TIG welding, as long as they are free of holes. For heavier welding, deerskin or heavy duty welding gloves should be used.

UV Burns

The light emitted from a weld arc is brighter than that of the sun. Do not look at the arc without wearing a full-faced welding mask with a shade 10 or darker filter plate. Always make sure the weld curtains are in place between the welder(s) and other people in the shop. Be sure to cover any exposed skin, including cuff and collar areas, while welding or observing inside the weld area. The rays from the arc can cause a UV burn much worse than a sunburn. Observers may use a cardboard mask with a shade 10 filter plate.

Compressed Gas Cylinders

Argon and CO2 are inert, nontoxic gases normally present in the atmosphere. However, if allowed to fill an enclosed area these gases can fully displace breathable air, causing asphyxiation and death. At the Asylum, the greater potential danger is the valve being knocked off the cylinder, turning it into a rocket powerful enough to severely injury or kill people and damage equipment and the building itself.

The following guidelines must be followed at all times:

Storing

  • Cylinders must ALWAYS remain upright and NEVER be placed horizontally.
  • Cylinders must be secured with a non-combustible material (metal) to an immovable object to prevented them from falling.

Moving

  • Cylinders must be securely capped.
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