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Arc Welding Safety – Question Answers

1. Clothing

Q: What is the most common injury to a welder?

A: Burns are the most common injury to welders due to sparks landing on the skin.
Welding arcs are very intense and can cause burns to skin and eyes with just a few minutes
of exposure.

Q: What protective clothing is needed in arc welding?

A: Protective clothing needed for welding includes general fire resistant clothing, safety
glasses, shoes, gloves, helmet and leathers.

Q: Can oxy-fuel tinted goggles be used to protect your eyes while arc welding?

A: No, oxy-fuel goggles do not protect your eyes from the intense ultraviolet radiation (UV)
produced by the welding arc. A welding helmet with the proper shaded lens must be used
whenever welding.

Q: What types of fabric are recommended for clothing worn when arc welding?

A: Because of its durability and resistance to fire, wool clothing is suggested over synthetics.
Synthetics should never be worn because it melts when exposed to extreme heat. Cotton
can be worn if it is specially treated for fire retardation.

Q: What are steps that you can take to prevent hot sparks from being trapped in
your clothing?

A: Avoid rolling up your sleeves or pant cuffs, because sparks or hot metal could deposit in
the folds. Also, wear your pants outside your work boots, not tucked in, to keep particles
from falling into your boots.

2. Safety Glasses
Q: Is it necessary to wear safety glasses if you are already wearing a welding helmet?

A: Even when wearing a helmet, Z87.1 approved safety glasses with side shields, or goggles,
should always be worn to protect your eyes from flying particles.
Shoes

Q: What types of footwear are recommended for welders?

A: Leather boots with six- to eight-inch ankle coverage are the best foot protection. Where
heavy work is done, safety-toe protection boots should be worn. Metatarsal guards over the
shoe laces can protect them from falling objects and sparks.

Gloves

Q: What types of gloves are suitable for protecting your hands while welding?

A: Heavy, flame-resistant gloves (from materials such as leather) should always be worn to
protect your hands and wrists from burns, cuts and scratches. As long as they are dry and in
good condition, they will offer some insulation against electric shock.

Helmets and Arc Rays

Q: What are the two forms of radiation given off by the welding arc?

A: The two types of radiation are Infrared (IR) and Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. IR radiation
can cause retinal burning and cataracts. IR can usually be felt as heat. UV radiation, which
cannot be felt, can cause an eye burn known as "Welder‘s Flash."

Q: How can exposure to IR and UV radiation injure your eyes?

A: It is essential that your eyes are protected from radiation exposure. IR radiation can
cause retinal burning and cataracts. IR can usually be felt as heat. UV radiation,
which cannot be felt, can cause an eye burn known as "Welder's Flash." This condition may
not be apparent until several hours after exposure. It can cause extreme discomfort and can
result in swelling, fluid excretion and temporary blindness. Normally, "Welder's Flash" is
temporary, but repeated or prolonged exposure can lead to permanent injury of the eyes.

Q: Is it safe to weld without a welding helmet for a brief period of time, such as
during tack welding?

A: Even brief exposure to UV rays can result in a burn to the eyes known as "Welders
Flash" which may not be evident until several hours after exposure. It causes extreme
discomfort and can result in swelling, fluid excretion from the eyes and even temporary
blindness. Normally, this condition is temporary, but repeated overexposure to
UV radiation can result in permanent eye damage.

Q: How do you select the proper filter lens for your welding helmet?

A: The general rule of thumb is to choose a filter too dark to see the arc and then move to
the next lighter setting without dropping to below the minimum recommended rating.

Q: How can you tell that you are being overexposed to radiation from the welding
arc?

A: Infrared (IR) radiation cannot be seen but is felt as heat. And there is no way to sense if
you are being overexposed to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation – so just do not take any chances
and always wear eye and face protection with the proper protective shading.

Q: How can overexposure to the UV radiation from the welding arc injure you?

A: UV radiation can also burn exposed skin. This process is similar to getting sunburn from
overexposure to the sun. Long exposure to arc rays without protection can lead to second
and third degree skin buns. Repeated overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is a known cause
of skin cancer.

Q: Is it safe to wear contact lenses while arc welding?

A: Welders should be able to wear contact lenses safely in most situations – provided they
wear appropriate industrial eye wear and use the protection we've already discussed with
respect to protection against arc rays. Anyone wearing contacts on the job should consult
with their company medical staff and their own ophthalmologist.

Noise and Hearing Protection

Q: How can you protect your hearing when arc welding?

A: Earplugs and earmuffs keep metal sparks and airborne particles from entering your ear
canal and protect your hearing from the effects of excessive noise.
Q: How do you know when the noise level to which you are exposed is potentially
hazardous?

A: Levels of noise over 85 decibels, averaged over an eight-hour workday, are potentially
hazardous to your hearing. When noise levels are painful or are loud enough to interfere
with your ability to hear others speaking at a normal conversational volume this is an
indication that levels are potentially hazardous.

Q: How does exposure to high noise levels damage your hearing?

A: The length and number of times you are exposed to high levels of noise determines the
extent of the damage to your hearing. High noise levels cause damage to the ear drum and
other sensitive parts of your inner ear.

Q: In addition to wearing hearing protection, what measures can you take to protect
yourself from high noise levels?

A: If it is not possible to reduce the level of noise at the source by moving either yourself or
the equipment, or by using sound barriers, then you should wear adequate ear protection.

Hazards of Electric Shock

Q: Under what circumstances can you receive an electric shock?

A: You receive an electric shock when you touch two metal objects that have a voltage
between them.

Q: At what voltage can you be injured by an electric shock?

A: 120 volts is a common voltage which is found in every home in the United States. 50
volts or less may be enough to injure or kill depending upon the conditions.

Q: Which is more hazardous: AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) current?

A: As a general rule, Alternating Current (AC) is more hazardous than Direct Current (DC).
Q: What voltages are used in the arc welding process?

A: Arc welding involves open circuit (when not welding) voltages which are typically from
as low as 20 volts to as high as 100 volts.

Q: What voltages are normally found inside the case of an arc welder?

A: The voltage inside welding equipment is commonly much higher: from 120 volts to 575
volts or more.

Primary Electric Shock

Q: Why is the primary voltage shock more hazardous than the secondary shock?

A: The primary voltage shock - at 115 volts to as high as 600 volts - is very hazardous
because it is much greater voltage than the welder secondary (or welding) voltage.

Q: When can you receive a primary voltage electric shock?

A: You can receive a shock from the primary (input) voltage if you: touch a lead or other
electrically "hot" component inside the welder while you have your body or hand on the
welder case or other grounded metal with the power to the welder "on."

Q: What must you do to turn off the electric power inside the welder case?

A: To turn the power inside the welder "off", the input power cord must be unplugged or
the power disconnect switch turned off.
Q: What is the purpose for grounding the case of an arc welder?

A: The case must be grounded so that if a problem develops inside the welder a fuse will
blow, disconnecting the power and letting you know that repair is required.

Q: How can you identify the grounding lead in the input power cable?

A: The input power grounding lead has green insulation or may have no insulation at all.

Q: What is the difference between the work lead and the grounding lead?

A: The Green Grounding Lead used to connect the welder to earth ground is not the same
as the Work Cable (sometimes called the "Welding Ground Cable") which is part of the arc
welding circuit and only carries welding current. The Work Cable does not Ground the
welder case.

Secondary Electric Shock

Q: What must occur for you to get a secondary voltage electric shock?
A: A secondary voltage electric shock occurs when you touch a part of the welding or
electrode circuit - perhaps a bare spot on the electrode cable at the same time another part
of your body is touching the metal upon which you're welding (work). To receive a shock,
your body must touch both sides of the welding circuit, electrode and work (or welding
ground) at the same time when the welding output is on.

Q: When is the voltage at the electrode the highest?


A: The voltage at the electrode is highest when you are not welding (open circuit voltage).

Safe Work Practices

Q: When is a stick electrode "electrically hot"?


A: A stick electrode is always "electrically hot" when the welder is on.
Q: How do you protect yourself from electric shock when welding?
A: Insulate your body from the metal you are welding. Don not rest you body, arms, or legs
on the work piece (the metal being welded), especially if your clothing is wet or bare skin is
exposed (and it should not be if you are dressed properly). Use plywood, rubber mats or
some other dry insulation to stand or lie upon. Wear dry gloves in good condition when
welding. Do not touch the electrode or metal parts of the electrode holder with skin or wet
clothing.

Electrically Hazardous Areas

Q: Under what conditions is arc welding electrically hazardous?


A: A situation can be electrically hazardous if welding must be performed under electrically
hazardous conditions (in damp locations or while wearing wet clothing, on metal structures
such as floors, gratings or scaffolds, when in cramped positions such as sitting, kneeling or
lying, or if there is a high risk of unavoidable or accidental contact with the work piece or
ground).

Q: What type of welding equipment is best suited for arc welding under electrically
hazardous conditions?
A: Semiautomatic DC Constant Voltage welder, DC Manual (stick) welder or AC welder
with Reduced Voltage Control.

Q: What should you do if you receive an electric shock?


A: If you experience an electric shock under any circumstances, think of it as a
warning. Check your equipment, work habits and work area to see what is wrong before
continuing to weld. See your physician immediately.

Q: What should you do if you think something is wrong with your welder?
A: If you think something is wrong, disconnect input power from the welder and report the
problem to your supervisor or to a Qualified Electrician. Do not use the welder again until
it has been checked.
Health Effects: Fumes

Q: What compounds are found in common welding fume?


A: The most common compounds in arc welding fume mild steel are iron, manganese and
silicon although other compounds in the electrode or on the base metal may be in the
welding fume.

Q: What types of electrode products are likely to have chromium or nickel in the welding
fume?
A: Fumes from the use of stainless steel and hardfacing products contain chromium or
nickel.

Q: What are the potential health effects that may result from long-term overexposure to
chromium or nickel?
A: Asthma has been reported and some forms of these metals are known or suspected
to cause lung cancer in processes other than welding. Therefore, it is recommended that
precautions be taken to keep exposures as low as possible.

Q: What are the potential health effects that may result from sustained overexposure to
manganese?
A: Manganese overexposure may affect the central nervous system, resulting in poor
coordination, difficulty in speaking and tremor of arms or legs. This condition is considered
irreversible.

Q: What are the long-term health effects associated with exposure to welding fume?
A: Check an LH70 MSDS sheet, including comments on siderosis and irritation of nose and
throat.

Q: What are the potential health effects that may result from overexposure to zinc?
A: Overexposure to zinc may cause fume fever with symptoms similar to the common flu.

Q: What is a common source of zinc in welding fume?


A: Zinc in welding fume usually comes from welding on galvanized steel.

Warnings

Q: Where can you find safety instructions regarding welding products that you use?
A: Each welding power source and container of consumable product has a warning label
which contains specific safety instructions regarding the arc welding product you have
chosen to use.

Q: What information is contained on a material safety data sheet (MSDS)?


A: An MSDS contains additional information including a summary of the Hazardous
Materials used to manufacture the product, a summary of Fire and Explosion Hazard Data,
Health Hazard Data and Reactivity Data, and information on the precautions to observe for
the Safe Handling and Use of the product.

Q: Where can you find the MSDS for the consumable product you are using?
A: Inside each Lincoln Electric consumable container. It can also be found on the Lincoln
Electric website, on the AWS website and from your supervisor.

Q: Since fumes and gases can be dangerous to your health, what three steps should you take
to protect yourself?
A: 1) Keep fumes and gases from your breathing zone and general area 2) Keep your head
out of the fumes 3) Use enough ventilation or exhaust at the arc, or both, to keep fumes
and gases from your breathing zone and general area.
Q: What additional precautions should be followed for products that require special
ventilation?
A: If special ventilation products are used indoors, use local exhaust. If special ventilation
products are used outdoors, a respirator may be required.

Q: What types of products generally require special ventilation?


A: Hardfacing and stainless products.

Health Effects: Gases

Q: What are the potential health hazards related to shielding gases used in arc welding?
A: Most of the shielding gases (argon, helium and carbon dioxide) are non-toxic, but they
can displace oxygen in your breathing air causing dizziness, unconsciousness and possible
death. Carbon monoxide can also be present and may pose a hazard if levels are excessive.

Adequate Ventilation

Q: What is the one of the most basic safety precautions that a welder can take to protect
themselves from overexposure to welding fume?
A: Keep your head out of the fume plume!

Q: Where is the concentration of fumes and gases greatest?


A: Concentration of fumes and gases is greatest in the plume.

Q: How can you keep fumes and gases away from your breathing zone?
A: Keep fumes and gases from your breathing zone and general area using natural
ventilation, mechanical ventilation, fixed or moveable exhaust hoods, or local exhaust at the
arc.

Q: What precautions must be taken if adequate ventilation cannot be provided?


A: It may be necessary to wear an NIOSH approved respirator if adequate ventilation
cannot be provided.

Q: Does OSHA require engineering or workplace controls be installed before respirators


can be used?
A: OSHA requires that engineering and workplace controls be installed first and if the
controls alone do not keep exposures below applicable limits, use respirators.

Q: How can a welder determine if there is adequate ventilation?


A: As a practical rule of thumb for welders, for many mild steel electrodes, if the welder is
comfortable and the air is visibly clear, the welder has adequate ventilation.

Q: What method is used to accurately measure a welder's exposure to welding fume?


A: A welder's exposure can only be determined by having a qualified professional take a
sample of the welder's breathing air during the workday.

Q: When is it most important to measure a welder's exposure to welding fume?


A: Measuring a welder‘s exposure to welding fume is essential if you are welding with
stainless, hardfacing or other special ventilation products (see the product label).

Q: What precautions should be taken when welding a base metal which is plated or painted?
A: If the base metal cannot be cleaned before welding, the composition of the coating
should be evaluated.

Q: What should you do if you feel overexposed to welding fume?


A: Stop welding and get some fresh air immediately. If you continue to feel the symptoms,
see your doctor. Notify your supervisor and co-workers so the situation can be corrected
and other workers are aware of and can avoid the hazard. Be sure you are following safe
practices, as stated upon the consumable labeling and MSDS, and improve the ventilation in
your area. Do not continue welding until the situation has been corrected.

Q: What does adequate ventilation mean?


A: Your work area has adequate ventilation when there is enough ventilation and exhaust to
control worker exposure to the hazardous materials in the welding fumes and gases (so the
applicable exposure limit for those materials is not exceeded).

Q: What are the most commonly used exposure limits?


A: The two most common U.S. exposure limits are established by OSHA in the form of
permissible exposure limits or PEL and by the ACGIH in the form of Threshold Limit
Values or TLV.

Q: What exposure limit is mandatory in the United States?


A: Your employer must keep exposures below the PEL.

Q: Where can you find the applicable limits for the PEL and TLV for substances in welding
fume?
A: The PEL and TLV are listed on the first page of the MSDS for compounds in each
electrode or flux.

Evaluating the Welding Environment

Q: What steps can you, the welder, take to identify hazardous substances?
A: There are also steps that you should take to identify hazardous substances in your
welding environment. Read the product label to review the warnings, safety precautions and
to determine if special ventilation is needed. Obtain and review the material safety data
sheet (MSDS) for the electrode which your employer or supervisor has posted in the
work place or that you find inside the electrode or flux container. You should review the
complete MSDS to determine specifically what compounds you may be exposed to when
using the product.

Q: Where can the welder find information about materials in the base metal or any coating
on the base metal?
A: Obtain a copy of the supplier's MSDS for the base metal being welded, as this should be
reviewed as well.

Welding Fume Control

Q: What is natural ventilation?


A: Natural ventilation is the movement of air through the workplace caused by natural
forces. Outside, this is usually the wind. Inside, this may be the flow of air through open
windows and doors.

Q: What is mechanical ventilation?


A: Mechanical ventilation is the movement of air through the workplace caused by an
electrical device such as a portable fan or permanently mounted fan in the ceiling or wall.

Q: What is local exhaust?


A: Local exhaust is a mechanical device used to capture welding fume at or near the arc and
remove contaminants from the air.

Q: What factors need to be considered when determining the exhaust requirements for your
application?
A: The ventilation or exhaust needed for your application depends upon factors such as:

Workspace volume
Workspace configuration
Number of welders
Welding process and current
Consumables used (mild steel, hardfacing, stainless, etc.)
Allowable levels (TLV, PEL, etc.)
Material welded (including paint or plating)
Natural airflow

Q: Name several types of local exhaust that can be used to control exposure to welding
fume?
A: Local exhaust of welding fumes can be provided by any of the following: adjustable
"elephant trunk" exhaust systems, fume extraction guns or fixed enclosures, or booths with
exhaust hoods.

Q: Which system is more effective and economical: general ventilation or local exhaust
systems?
A: Local exhaust systems are more effective and economical to operate than a general
ventilation system, particularly in the winter, because they require less replacement air to be
brought into the room and heated.

Q: What is the minimum air velocity (speed) required near the welding arc?
A: Minimum required air velocity at the welding arc is 100 fpm.

Q: When should an employee's exposure to welding fume be obtained?


A: Exposure should be checked when new ventilation equipment is installed, when the
process is modified or when the welder feels uncomfortable. Periodically, exposure should
be re-checked to be sure it is still working properly and is adequate.

Special Ventilation Reminder

Q: What must be done to insure that there is adequate ventilation when welding with
electrodes that require special ventilation (such as stainless or hardfacing, or other products
which require special ventilation - see instructions on container or MSDS) or on lead or
cadmium plated steel and other metals or coatings like galvanized steel, which
produce hazardous fumes?
A: Keep exposure as low as possible and below exposure limit values (PEL and TLV) for
materials in the fume using local exhaust.

Q: When should a respirator be used?


A: In confined spaces or in some circumstances, for example outdoors, a respirator may be
required if exposure cannot be controlled to the PEL or TLV (see MSDS).

Q: When does OSHA consider natural ventilation sufficient?


A: According to OSHA regulations, when welding and cutting (mild steels), natural
ventilation is usually considered sufficient to meet requirements, provided that:

The room or welding area contains at least 10,000 cubic feet (about 22' x 22' x 22') for each
welder
The ceiling height is not less than 16 feet
Cross ventilation is not blocked by partitions, equipment or other structural barriers
Welding is not done in a confined space
Regardless of the whether the ventilation meets these requirements, the welder's exposure
must be controlled to below the PEL or TLV (if applicable) exposure limit to be adequate
Fire Hazards

Q: What aspects of arc welding create the hazard of fire and explosion?
A: The danger of fire results from the effects of this intense heat upon your work and in the
form of sparks and molten metals created by the arc.

Q: What should you do prior to welding to avoid the hazard of fire and explosion?
A: Before you start welding, inspect the work area in which you will be welding. Look for
flammable substances that could ignite when heated. If you are not sure whether or not a
substance in the work area is flammable, no welding or cutting should take place until a
responsible person has inspected the area and given approval for the work or the material
has been removed or protected.

Q: What can be used to put out a fire if fire extinguishers are not available?
A: If there are no fire extinguishers in the area, make sure that you have access to fire hoses
with available water pressure, sand buckets, fire-resistant blankets, or other fire-fighting
equipment. Remember, always locate the nearest fire exit in case there is a fire and you have
to leave the area.

Q: When do you need a fire watcher?


A: If you are welding within 35 feet or so of flammable materials, you should have a fire
watcher to see where your sparks are flying and to grab an extinguisher or sound the alarm
if needed. You and the fire watcher should wait for at least one half hour after all welding is
finished to find and put out any smoldering fires that may have resulted from your welding.

Q: What can you do to prevent fire or explosion if you need to weld on near flammable
materials which cannot be moved away from the arc?
A: If there are flammable materials, including fuel or hydraulic lines, in your work area and
you can‘t move your work or the flammable material, put a fire-resistant shield such as a
piece of sheet metal or fire resistant blanket in place over the material.

Q: How can dust pose a fire hazard?


A: Particular care must be taken when welding or cutting in dusty locations. Under some
conditions, fine dust particles may readily burn and without warning result in a flash fire or
even an explosion when exposed to the welding arc or even sparks.

Closed Containers

Q: What special precautions need to be taken when welding on containers or piping that
may contain flammable materials?
A: Welding on or around containers and piping that may have flammable materials should
only be handled by experienced welders who review and follow the safety practices
recommended in the American Welding Society document F4.1: "Recommended Safe
Practices for the Preparation for Welding and Cutting of Containers and Piping Which Had
Held Hazardous Substances." Special precautions which must be taken when welding upon
containers may include filling the container with an inert gas or water.

Q: Who can perform arc welding on closed containers or piping that may contain
flammable materials?
A: Welding upon containers or piping should only be performed by qualified welders.
Q: What potential fire or explosion hazard should you look for when welding on or around
equipment or vehicles that use fuel or hydraulic oil?
A: Do not forget to look for and protect any fuel or hydraulic lines near the arc. Lines
which contain a flammable liquid under pressure are particularly dangerous and should be
avoided when welding.

Q: What should you do if you notice that a fire has started near where you are working?
A: Do not panic. If the fire is very small, you may be able to use the equipment you have to
put out the fire however, if the fire is too large, call the fire department. Always sound the
fire alarm to warn other workers nearby and shut off your welder if there is a fire. Then
leave the area as quickly as possible.

Q: Where should the spray from the fire extinguisher be directed?


A: The spray from any extinguisher should be directed at the base of the fire on the material
which is burning, not on the flames above the material.

Q: What type of program should your company have to help to protect your facility from
the risk o fire or explosion?
A: Your company may have a specific hot work permit program that may require additional
precautions and procedures are followed. Consult your safety coordinator or your
supervisor to the appropriate training and certification.
Shop Warning Labels

Q: What is a warning label?


A: A warning label is a label that contains information about the safe use of a product that
you need to know to use the product safely. You should read a warning label prior to first
using a product.

Q: On what types of welding machines can you find warning labels?


A: You can find warning labels on the following types of arc welding and cutting products:
arc welding equipment, including arc welders and wire feeders and arc welding electrode
and flux products.

Q: What types of hazards and reference information does a typical warning label review?
A: A warning label covers the basic hazards encountered in arc welding such as exposure to
arc welding, fumes and gases, electric shock, arc rays and fire and explosion. It also instructs
the welder to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and refers the welder to the
OSHA Regulations and the American National Standard regarding Arc Welding and
Cutting Safety (ANSI Z49.1).

Q: Why is it a good idea to review warnings periodically?


A: Warnings on electrode and flux products are updated occasionally so it is a good idea to
review them again periodically to be sure you have the information you need to use the
product safely. The warnings also vary from product to product so when you change the
product you are using you should review the warning on the new product when you begin
to use it.

Q: What is the purpose of a special ventilation note?


A: Special ventilation notes inform the user that a particular substance in the electrode is
present in sufficient amounts and that additional ventilation is needed to properly control
fume exposure. Special ventilation notes commonly relate to manganese and chromium in
the welding fume, however other substances may also require such notes. Special
attention to ventilation is important when welding with products having such notes.

MSDS

Q: Why were Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) developed?


A: MSDS were developed to inform millions of American workers of the potential hazards
of handling and working with thousands of chemicals and other substances.

Q: Does each consumable product have an MSDS?


A: An MSDS is available for all welding electrodes and fluxes and may be obtained from
welding distributors or the manufacturers.

Q: What system provides information about the amount of chemical in welding fume that a
welder may be repeatedly exposed to?
A: Both the TLV and PEL relate to the measured weight (in milligrams) of welding fume
per volume (in cubic meters) to which you may be repeatedly exposed without adverse
health effects.

Q: What is the difference between the PEL and the TLV?


A: The PEL figure is similar to the TLV except that is has been adopted by the U.S.
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Q: What are typical symptoms of short-term overexposure to welding fumes?


A: Short-term overexposure, for instance, can cause dizziness, nausea or irritation of the
nose, throat and eyes. Long-term overexposure to welding fumes can lead to siderosis (iron
deposits in the lungs) which is not normally harmful but in large amounts may affect
breathing generally.

Q: What medical procedure should be followed if an accident occurs?


A: Emergency and First Aid procedures are very important but provide only initial
guidance. Always call a doctor or local emergency squads as quickly as possible after an
accident occurs. Review the emergency and first aid procedure section in the MSDS to be
sure you or at least one of your co-workers can give the first aid treatment suggested. To
learn CPR see your local Red Cross chapter.

Q: What type of information is included in the reactivity data portion of an MSDS?


A: This section describes the effects upon the material when it reacts with another material.
In the case of welding electrodes, the reaction is the welding process and the result, other
than the actual weld, is that some of the electrode ingredients and other nearby materials
(oils, coating, air, etc.) react in the intense heat to produce welding fumes and gases. Since
the reactions that take place are complicated and vary depending upon the situation, the
fumes and gases also vary.

Q: What is the purpose of the Control Measure and Precautions for Handling and Use
sections of the MSDS?
A: The purpose of this section is to provide information about how exposure to the
material, including welding fume, can be controlled. This section also provides information
about how the material can be handled safely.

Trailer Safety

Q: What is the most important consideration in selecting a trailer for your application?
A: Trailer capacity must be adequate for the payload.

Q: Where can you find the rated capacity for a trailer?


A: Check the manufacturer's specifications and the capacity plate on the trailer.

Q: What is the most important consideration in selecting a tow vehicle?


A: Tow vehicle and hitch capacity. Check capacity and serviceability of the tow vehicle and
hitch.

Q: What is generally recommended minimum tongue weight for a trailer?


A: Always maintain a minimum tongue weight of approximately 8% of total trailer plus
payload weight.

Q: How and when should safety chains be connected when towing a trailer?
A: Safety chains should always be crossed under the tongue of the trailer and connected to
the eyes of the hitch. Install safety chains on trailer before towing the trailer. Be sure the
safety chains and emergency brake cable are in place and properly connected.

Q: What should be done to be sure that the trailer and tow vehicles tires are prepared for
towing?
A: Check the tires and tire pressure. Inspect all tires for damage or wear - this includes the
tow vehicle tires. Tire pressures should be set to the trailer or vehicle manufacturer's
recommended pressure and not greater than the maximum pressure on the tire.

Q: What should be checked about the wheels on the trailer and tow vehicle before towing?
A: Check to be sure all lug nuts are tight. Be sure bearings are serviced and have grease.
Bearing failure can cause a wheel and tire to separate from the trailer.

Q: What about the trailer lights should be checked before towing?


A: Check to see that the trailer wiring is properly hooked up and working. Do not tow
trailer after dark without lights.

Q: What can be done to avoid fuel leakage with engine driven equipment is towed?
A: Most engine driven equipment has a shutoff in the fuel line or at the tank. Always shut
off the fuel when trailoring to prevent fuel leakage.

Q: What should you do if a trailer begins to sway or become difficult to control?


A: If the trailer is not stable or if a problem develops or something does not feel right do
not ignore it. Do not continue to tow the trailer if you think there is a problem.
Immediately slow down and pull the trailer off the road in a safe location and recheck the
trailer and tow vehicle. Fix the problem off the road.

Welding in Confined Spaces

Q: How does welding in a confined space affect the safety precautions that should be
taken?
A: When arc welding in a confined area, such as a boiler, tank, ship hold, or similar
confined, enclosed or restricted space, bear in mind that all the hazards associated with
normal arc welding are amplified. Therefore, special precautions must always be taken.

Q: What is the definition of a confined space?


A: The definition of a confined space, according to OSHA is: 1) it is large enough and so
configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work 2) has limited or
restricted means for entry or exit (for example: bins, silos, tanks, vessels, hoppers, vaults
and pits) and 3) is not designed for continuous human occupancy.

Q: What hazards are more of concern when welding in a confined space?


A: In a confined space there is a greater danger that flammable gases may be present that
could cause an explosion. Also, the walls of a metal enclosure or space can become
electrically energized and become part of the circuit, presenting an electrical hazard to the
welder or other entrants. Fumes from welding or other hot work can accumulate more
rapidly and concentrate to dangerous levels in enclosed or confined spaces. Fumes
generated from the work itself or the gases used for welding and hot work can also have the
potential to displace or force out breathable air, while also potentially consuming and
reducing oxygen concentrations to below safe levels.

Q: What should be done to evaluate the atmosphere inside a confined space prior to
entering?
A: The following atmospheric hazards must be assessed for any confined space prior to
entry: 1) test for safe oxygen levels 2) test for combustible gases and vapors and 3) test for
toxic gases and vapors.

Q: What precautions must employers take if they have a confined space in the workplace?
A: Employers must have a written confined space entry program that includes specialized
training for employees that enter confined spaces, serve as attendants to those entering and
for those who supervise confined space entries. They must also have a written entry permit
process that includes a hazard assessment and specific entry procedures that employees
must follow in order to safely complete assigned work.

EMF, Pacemakers and Defibrillators

Q: What causes electric and magnetic fields (EMF)?


A: Electric current flowing through any conductor causes localized Electric and Magnetic
Fields (EMF). For example, when you are welding the welding current flowing through
your arc welder and welding cables creates an EMF field near the welder and the welding
cables.

Q: What precautions should be taken by welders who have pacemakers or defibrillators?


A: Since EMF fields may interfere with some pacemakers, welders having a pacemaker (or
defibrillator) should consult their physician before welding.

Q: What is known about the health effects of exposure to EMF fields in welding?
A: Exposure to EMF fields in welding may have other health effects which are now not
known. It is prudent for you to use good practice when arc welding to minimize your
exposure to EMF.

Q: What procedures should be followed by the welder to reduce exposure to EMF?


A: All welders should use the following procedures in order to minimize exposure to EMF
fields from the welding circuit: route the electrode and work cables together. Secure them
with tape or tie wraps when possible. If the cables are routed together, the EMF field at that
point is reduced. Some cables even include electrode and work conductors inside one cable
which may be a convenient way to reduce EMF exposure.

Q: Why should you never coil the electrode or work cables around your body?
A: Coiling the cables around your body increases your exposure to EMF.

Q: How should cable be positioned relative to your body when welding?


A: Do not place your body between the electrode and work cables. If the electrode cable is
on your right side, the work cable should also be on your right side.There is an EMF field at
and between each cable.

Q: What is the recommended point at which the work cable should be connected to work?
A: Connect the work cable to the work piece as close as possible to the area being welded.

Q: Why is it not good practice to weld next to the welding power source?
A: Welding next to the welding power source increases your exposure the EMF due to the
field located at the welder.
Q: What arc welding processes minimize EMF exposure and may be particularly suitable for
welders that have a pacemaker or defibrillator and for whom welding has been approved by
their physician?
A: You may further minimize EMF exposure by using arc welding processes such as TIG
or by welding at the lowest DC output settings acceptable for your welding application.
This is particularly important if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Q: What precautions should be taken prior to welding by any welder that has a pacemaker
or defibrillator?
A: If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator and wish to continue to weld you must talk to
your physician and follow the advice that he gives. Your physician may want to contact the
manufacturer of the pacemaker to obtain their recommendation about arc welding. In some
cases your physician may advise against continuing to weld.