MRO Magazine

Be alert to the dangers of welding while alone

Charlottetown, PEI -- Everyone knows that welding can be a hazardous activity. This fact was reinforced when, in September 2011, a small business operator was severely burned when his clothing caught fire while he was welding. The Workers...


Health & Safety

June 29, 2012
By MRO Magazine

Charlottetown, PEI — Everyone knows that welding can be a hazardous activity. This fact was reinforced when, in September 2011, a small business operator was severely burned when his clothing caught fire while he was welding. The Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island (PEI) issued a hazard alert as reminder to take proper precautions to prevent injury.

The small business operator was working alone, cutting metal bars of a conveyor chain, when the hose on the gas cutting torch he was using ruptured and caught fire. The worker survived the incident, however he sustained third degree burns to 70% of his body.

According to the alert issued by PEI, as reported in the Health and Safety Report (Vol. 10, No. 6) from the Hamilton, ON-based Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), the following factors may have contributed to the severity of the injuries:

– fire retardant clothing not worn

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– working alone

– propane tank not equipped with an excess flow valve

– hot or molten metal contact with lower quality fuel lines caused a rupture in the fuel lines.

The WCB of PEI recommends that employers and anyone working with welding or cutting processes take the following precautions:

– Wear fire retardant clothing. Note that flame retardant treatments become less effective with repeated laundering.

– Perform workplace hazard assessments.

– Equip all propane tanks with an excess flow valve.

– Equip all welding cutting burners with reverse flow check valves installed as close as possible to the regulators.

– Pay close attention when using cutting or welding equipment and be aware of the proximity of the fuel lines in relation to the torch and any hot materials.

– Suspend the fuel lines with hose hangers above the work, if possible.

– Wear appropriate footwear when working on any welding applications.

– Avoid working alone, whenever possible, when working with hot work or cutting metal with gas. If this is not possible, establish safe work procedures for working alone.

– Conduct daily inspections of all welding and cutting equipment.

For more information, visit http://www.ccohs.ca/newsletters/hsreport/issues/2012/06/ezine.html?id=9109&link=3#hazardalert.