17.5.1 Welding Guidelines

Proper selection of personal protective equipment is very important when welding; make sure your welding helmet visor is dark enough to provide adequate protection. See the following table for OSHA regulations. Wear fireproof apron and gloves. In addition, take care to protect other people from the hazards of welding. For example, use a welding curtain to protect other people from UV radiation.

OSHA requirements - 1910.252:

Welding Operation Shade Number
Shielded metal-arc welding - 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 - inch  
5/32 - inch electrodes,

Gas-shielded arc welding (nonferrous) - 1/16, 3/32 - inch

1/8, 5/32 - inch electrodes,

Gas-shielded arc welding (ferrous) - 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 - inch

5/32 - inch electrodes, Shielded metal-arc welding 12
3/16, 7/32, 1/4 - inch electrodes 12
5/16, 3/8 - inch electrodes 14
Atomic hydrogen welding 10-14
Carbon arc welding 14
Soldering 2
Torch brazing 3 or 4
Light cutting, up to 1 inch 3 or 4
Medium cutting, 1 to 6 inches 4 or 5
Heavy cutting, 6 inches and over 5 or 6
Gas welding (light) up to inch 4 or 5
Gas welding (medium) inch to inch 5 or 6
Gas welding (heavy) inch and over 6 or 8

There are three types of welders:

  1. AC Welders: these welders are used for standard welding procedures. AC welders are powered by an electrical cord.
  2. DC Welders: these are portable welders that are commonly used in manholes. DC welders have their own power supply.
  3. Wire-feed Welders: these welders use inert gas for light metal work (e.g., stainless steel, aluminum, etc.)

Common hazards associated with welding include the following:

UV radiation exposure
Oxygen depletion

In addition to the general guidelines for welding and cutting, follow these specific guidelines for safe welding operations:

  1. Make sure the welding area has a nonreflective, noncombustible surface.
  2. Ensure that adequate ventilation and exhaust are available.
  3. Be aware of electrocution hazards, particularly in damp conditions. Be sure that electrical cords are properly grounded. It is advisable for cords to pull down from an overhead pulley.

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