Welding, Cutting and Brazing

Welding, Cutting and Brazing

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is welding?

Welding is the process of joining metals in which coalescence is produced by heating to suitable temperatures with or without the use of a filler metal. Welding processes can be classed as pressure, nonpressure, or brazing. In nonpressure welding techniques, metal is vaporized and condenses to form a fume.

What is brazing?

Brazing is a technique for joining metals that are heated above 800 degrees F.

What is "hot work?"

"Hot work" is defined as work involving electric or gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations.

What are the hazards associated with welding and cutting?

The major health hazards related to welding and cutting are a consequence of the inhalation of metal fumes generated during welding and cutting. The type and severity of the health effects that result from inhalation of metal fumes depends on the specific metals involved, the concentration of the metal fumes in the air, the frequency of exposure, and the length of exposure.

Other health hazards associated with welding and cutting result from exposure to the ultraviolet radiation that is emitted during the welding process. Lack of appropriate skin and eye protection can result in reddening of the skin and photokeratitis (also known as "flash burn" or "welders eye").

Regarding physical hazards, welding, cutting and brazing operations can pose a significant ignition source for flammable vapors. Therefore, hot work must never be conducted in a flammable atmosphere or in close proximity to flammable liquids, or on metal containers that have been used to contain flammable and combustible liquids unless the container has been thoroughly emptied, cleaned, and purged with an inert gas, such as nitrogen, to remove residual flammable vapors.

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

Ventilation is the most effective means of controlling inhalation exposures to welding fumes. Where possible, local exhaust ventilation should be located at the parts being welded to exhaust metal fumes away from the welder as they are generated.

Eye protection of an appropriate shade should always be worn when welding is conducted. In addition, wear leather or thick fabric gloves when welding or cutting to protect against burns and cover arms and legs for protection against reddening of the skin by emitted ultraviolet radiation.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

A PPE hazard assessment can assist the employer in identifying the appropriate personal protective equipment required to protect the employee from hazards associated with welding, cutting and brazing.

Training and Outreach Services

Presentations on welding and personal protective equipment are available for general industry and construction and can be used to assist employers in training their staff. These presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

Other resource information pertaining to personal protective equipment can be found on the A-Z topics page. 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Regulations

Regulations

What standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to welding, cutting and brazing in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

  • 29 CFR 1915.51 - ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating

  • 29 CFR 1915.53 - welding, cutting and heating in way of preservative coatings

  • 29 CFR 1915.54 - welding, cutting and heating of hollow metal containers and structures not covered by 29 CFR 1915.12

  • 29 CFR 1915.55 - gas welding and cutting

  • 29 CFR 1915.56 - arc welding and cutting

  • 29 CFR 1915.57 - use of fissionable material in ship repairing and shipbuilding

Maritime, Marine Terminals

Construction

Additional OSH standards associated with welding. cutting and brazing include:

General Industry

Construction

  • 29 CFR 1926.64 - process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.