Welding, Cutting and Brazing 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. Brazing is a technique for joining metals that are heated above 800 degrees F. "Hot work" is defined as work involving electric or gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or spark-producing operations. Welding, Cutting and Brazing Hazard Overview Solutions Regulations Learn More 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. 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. 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 29 CFR 1910.251 - definitions 29 CFR 1910.252 - general requirements 29 CFR 1910.253 - oxygen-fuel gas welding and cutting 29 CFR 1910.254 - arc welding and cutting 29 CFR 1910.255 - resistance welding 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 29 CFR 1917.152 - welding, cutting and heating Construction 29 CFR 1926.350 - gas welding and cutting 29 CFR 1926.351 - arc welding and cutting 29 CFR 1926.352 - fire prevention 29 CFR 1926.352 - fire prevention2 29 CFR 1926.354 - welding, cutting, and heating in way of preservative coatings Additional OSH standards associated with welding. cutting and brazing include: General Industry 29 CFR 1910.132 - general requirements, personal protective equipment 29 CFR 1910.133 - eye and face protection 29 CFR 1910.134 - respiratory protection 29 CFR 1910.138 - hand and body protection 29 CFR 1910.119 - process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals 29 CFR 1910.146 - permit-required confined space 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances Construction 29 CFR 1926.28 - general requirements, PPE 29 CFR 1926.55 - gases, vapors, fumes, dusts and mists 29 CFR 1926.64 - process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals 29 CFR 1926.102 - eye and face protection 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA - confined space in construction Maritime, Shipyard Employment 29 CFR 1915.12 - precautions and the order of testing before entering confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres 29 CFR 1915.14 - hot work 29 CFR 1915.152 - PPE, general requirements 29 CFR 1915.153 - eye and face protection 29 CFR 1915.157 - hand and body protection 29 CFR 1915 Subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances Other Applicable Standards The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite. Where can I learn more? Industry Guides Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, includes requirements special requirements for welding, cutting and many other construction industry standards. Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, includes special requirements for welding, cutting and many other general industry standards. Industry Guide 53 - OSHA Shipyard Employment Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training highlights the requirements of standards related to welding, cutting and other standards in shipyard employment. Industry Guide 054 - OSHA Marine Terminal Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training highlights the requirements of standards related to welding, cutting and other standards at marine terminals. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.