Safety in welding is an often-overlooked topic when preparing your safety training. However, it is important for the most experienced welder to be reminded of safety procedures that are invaluable to his safety, coworkers and to the company when working with oxygen and acetylene. There are many potential hazards associated with welding and cutting and the results of poor safety can be catastrophic.

Wearing the appropriate clothing is the first step towards safe welding practices. Clothing should protect the body from the rays of the arc and from hot metal sparks. For complete protection, there should be no exposed skin. Wear gloves, sleeves, aprons and shoes to protect clothing from sparks and slag. Do not wear cuffed pants as they may catch sparks. Keep all clothing and protective equipment absolutely free of oil or grease. Put the welders hood in place before striking the arc, and keep it in place through the duration of welding.

Welding and cutting tools require safe care and handling. Be sure your tools are inspected and in good operating condition before use. Examine hoses for cracks or leaks. Inspect for oil or grease and if present, do not use. Oxygen and acetylene hoses should be the right length for the job. A hose too long will increase pressure at the regulator end and may cause the hose to burst. Check the gas tanks and regulators before starting the work.

A welding screen should always be in place to protect other employees from the arc. Let your fellow workers know in advance that you will be welding so that they can wear the appropriate eyewear or avoid looking into the work area. The work area should be clean and remain neat to avoid fires. Make sure a fire extinguisher is within 10 feet of hot work. Check the area after you are finished for possible fires and smoldering materials. Use a fire watch person if necessary to ensure surrounding materials do not ignite.

It is necessary that proper safety procedures be understood before doing hot work minimizing the hazards involved and adding to the efficiency of your work.