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Gwen C

Welding concerns
« on: June 30, 2015, 02:22:50 PM »
Hello, this is my first post. I have worked as a safety officer for a collateral duty for years, but my department focused a lot more on preventive health care and training. Recently I have become employed in the civilian sector and that includes frequent contractor work. I am planning an OSHA 30-hour construction course, however the earliest one is not until September.

I ran into a concern the other day when I saw some welding being performed without shielding, about 5-15 feet away from administrative employees who were behind windows.

When confronted the contracted welders said they would have to quit work and then return to the scene of employment to finish the job, after setting up the screening. They instead wanted to use a sort of tarp to shield the employees vision, but that was only one angle.

I would like to read more about specific requirements, as well as learn what sort of protections are in place in public spaces when wielding. What is the tarp requirements, is it a valid equipment, and will a standard tarp surrounding the welding area be sufficient?

I have a further concern, for the welder. He stated that he can cover himself with the tarp and weld under it. I am concerned that he would possibly experience heat injury at these temperatures, or carbon monoxide poisoning if he covers himself.

Are there specific exposure times for watching flame arcs? Are there specific concerns for public spaces?  My immediate concerns were to limit access, post signage, gated barriers to limit traffic, and warning employees in the immediate area and pulling down blinds so they don't look at it accidentally, and parents of small children (inhabitants) in the area, who are used to using that space.  I also closed off outdoor structures and blocked the entrance to that lower courtyard, while the welding is going on, to prohibit smoking within 15-25 feet of the welding. Can you think of anything else I should have done?

I am looking thru an arc flash manual, and it sounds like it might be smartest to inspect the equipment and look for an arc flash label in order to establish a boundary. Is 10' safety area enough for the flash arc, but what about public eyeing the flame, I'm not sure what keywords to search out the risk to that hazard. And the only barrier to that, which I can think of, is actually placing another tarp-barrier to close off the back areas, where a child might be looking constantly at the flame, with enough space for the circulation of air for the contractor.

Am I responsible if the contractor were to put up insufficient barriers and then a child on the street got burnt retinas? Am I responsible if the contractor fails to erect their own safety barriers and the contractor gets hurt? (Or is their own employer at fault there for failure of training?)

Is there a protocol for requesting information in advance, like in my own company people may plan something like this, where welding is being done in a public place, without having actually notified their safety person. Here, the safety person was not given advance notice or even a POC within the contracted company to ask questions like barriers and safe distance for the public. The contractors were not at all concerned about the barriers until questioned by an outside safety person (myself).

I guess a lot of stuff doesn't go by the book. We can't control it if we don't see it, but we can mitigate safety hazards with planning, and we can implement policies/changes to policy to create safer future outcomes, and we can mitigate safety concerns as they come up, losing normal working hours to fix a problem after the fact (internal safety and hazard communication training seems internally necessary here).




stevegsg

Re: Welding concerns
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2015, 10:34:01 AM »
Hi Gwen,

Thanks for your questions and comments.   It appears there are some serious safety management system deficiencies causing the lack of safety your're seeing.  I would recommend getting in touch with your local OSHA consultation office for an "official" answer to your questions.  We cannot respond to specific technical questions for legal reasons.  We do want to encourage you to review the OSHA regulations that apply to your situation:

You should get familiar with CFR 29 1910 Subpart Q at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10133 and 1926 Subpart  at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10914
 
I can offer my opinion that the welders need to be complying with their company's safety rules regarding welding practices.  The fact that they're not, tells me there has been a lack of leadership, training, and accountability. 

You, as a safety person, cannot "make" the welders comply.  You're not a cop, but a consultant.  The supervisor is the cop and he or she is the one who should be held accountable for actions performed by their workers.  Only the supervisor, as an agent of the employer (contractor) can "make" workers use safe practices.  Since supervisors have the ability to control, they should be the persons held accountable, not you.   You need to make sure that you have fulfilled your obligations as an internal "consultant" by formally educating the employer, supervisors, welders, etc.  on safe practices.  Make sure your certification of training is in writing and that the welders have demonstrated knowledge ability and skills needed to safely perform welding.   That's really all you can do... educate everyone! 

I hope this helps.  It doesn't answer all of your questions, but it does point you in the right direction.




suzy

Re: Welding concerns
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 11:36:42 AM »
Квалифицированная медицинская помощь дерматологов и косметологов в Краснодаре и Краснодарском крае http://ugri-von.ru

Aaronrek

Welding concerns
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2017, 09:08:35 AM »
Ah ... another thing to consider ... Its not good being a complete welding newbie - the possibility of mistakes

I shall see what the gas bottle would cost me.

John