Checklist for Safety During Welding

Checklist of Safety while undertaking Welding and Welding Activities during Shipbuilding/Ship repair.

Welding and its allied processes involve working with pressurized gases and various types of welding equipment. Safe handling and use of the equipment is very crucial while carrying out welding. Various Safety procedures and Safety precautions are to be followed at worksite by all concerned while welding is being undertaken. Consequences of non compliance to the safety procedures or non adherence to the safety precautions can be hazardous to the health as well as safety of personnel at worksite and may also lead to a disaster. Therefore, health and safety issues are an essential and an important part of the welding process which need to be given the highest priority during welding. The checks/precautions that need to be taken during welding have been put down in the form of a checklist for better  understanding. Though all efforts have been taken in listing the various checks/precautions needed during welding it is recommend that extra caution needs to be taken based on past experience, manufacturers operation manuals, product catalogues, company safety procedures, etc and should not be limited to only the checks/precautions explained in this article.

 

Equipment :

 

  • Check that the power source functions correctly.
  • Check the power source is correctly connected to mains, and that you know how to operate the equipment correctly.
  • Ensure that gas cylinders are properly secured, in upright position, and fitted with correct and properly functioning regulators for the gas. Acetylene and oxygen regulators shall be fitted with flashback arrestors.
  • Protect cylinders against heat and mechanical damage.
  • The valve opening of the acetylene cylinder shall point away from other compressed gas cylinders, and a heat resistant mitten shall be available.
  • Hoses shall be in good condition, without leaks or damage, and with correct colour coding for the gas.(Red for acetylene, blue for oxygen, black for shielding gases and filtered air).
  • Use correct hose connectors and hose clamps. Pieces of pipe and twisted wire must never be used. Never use oil or grease in connection with welding gases and never use copper in connection with acetylene.
  • Cables shall be of oil resistant type with undamaged insulation and properly mounted cable connectors. Use safety cable connectors where both halves are protected to prevent contact with deck when disconnected.
  • Check that torches and electrode holders are in good working condition, including check of blowpipes (AC/ OX), nozzles (AC/OX, Flame Spray, TIG, Plasma), electrodes (TIG, Plasma), and insulation (TIG, Plasma, GMAW, MMAW). Routine checks and maintenance needs to be carried out on regular basis.
  • Check all gas connectors for leaks, including torch valves. Even Argon may be a safety risk if it replaces air in a confined area due to excessive leaks. Replace defective gaskets with original gaskets only.
  • Keep hoses and cables clear of passage ways and protected from sparks, hot metal and mechanical damage e.g. in doorways, hatches, etc.
  • Both welding and ground clamp cables should be stretched to the work place, and the ground clamp should be fastened with good electrical contact directly on the work piece.

 


Work Site :

Good House keeping at worksite is essential for ensuring a safe working environment during welding. Work place should be cleaned and kept clear regularly by removal of any flammable materials, liquids and gases from workplace and adjacent spaces including spaces above/below decks, behind bulkheads and inside pipes or containers. Cover all openings through which sparks may be led to other areas onboard which have not been prepared for carrying out the hot work.

Check to be carried out:

 

  • Shield the work place to protect others from sparks and radiation from the arc, and post a warning sign that welding is in progress.
  • Ensure that sufficient and correct fire fighting equipment is available at the workplace, and that personnel familiar with its use are present.
  • Ensure that the work place is properly ventilated, if necessary with special fume extraction equipment. This is especially important when working on galvanized or coated surfaces which may produce harmful fumes when heated.

 

 

Procedure for carry out a hot work :

 

  • Ensure that all relevant check lists, certificates and permits for hot work have been issued.
  • If work is being done onboard the ship, an assistant protected in the same manner as the welder should accompany him at the worksite.
  • If work has been done inside a confined space the assistant should always be placed outside, within view of the welder and with possibility to cut off gas and power supply. (Gas quick couplings and an unlocked safety cable connector may act as emergency cut-offs).

 

 

Operator / assistant protection :

     When working, wear safety shoes and a proper boiler suit with long sleeves. Do not wear clothes of highly combustible materials or wet clothes, and do not carry combustible material, e.g. matches, lighters, oily rags.Welding gloves should always be used, and when necessary also use additional leather clothing for protection against sparks, heat and electric shock.

 

  • Use head and face protection (helmet, shield, goggles). Ensure that filter glasses are unbroken and have the correct shade.
  • Where necessary use a fresh air unit or breathing apparatus to avoid inhaling fumes and dust from the welding process.
  • Never use acetylene or oxygen to blow away dust from yourself or the workplace.
  • Always keep dry and keep the workplace dry, especially when arc welding.

 

 

When work is paused or completed :

 

  • Always remove coated electrodes from the electrode holder and switch/close off gas and current at the source (welding machine, cylinder valve, gas outlet) also during short breaks for meals etc.
  • Do not leave the workplace unattended. When hot work is completed the work place shall be inspected at regular interval to ensure that no risk of fire remains. Only when this has been assured should fire fighting equipment be retumed to its normal storing place.

 


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