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Welding, cutting, and brazing
Welding, cutting and brazing operations have the potential to create a wide variety of hazards, including toxic fumes and gases, explosion, fire, arc radiation, noise, and electrical shock. These hazards, combined with several different methods and technologies for performing the operation and crossover with other safety program areas (e.g. compressed gas, confined space, fire prevention), result in complex safety and health issues. This webpage is not meant to summarize or prioritize the health and safety issues for these operations, but rather as a starting point and collection of useful reference material for supervisors, employees, and University of Wisconsin System campus safety and health professionals.
There is no regulatory requirement to create and maintain a written program for welding, cutting and brazing operations. However, these operations may cross into other program areas that do have written program requirements (e.g. permit-required confined space or respiratory protection). Also, it is often useful for organizations to implement written policies for the workplace so that the necessary or required practices and controls can be more reliably and continuously implemented.
Examples of written workplace policy, rules or guidance
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — General rules for welding at UWM, plus other welding, torching and brazing safety links.
Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth — Safety policy for employees and students using the Thayer Machine Shop.
Harvard University — Template for welding and metal shop agreement to be signed by shop users.
South Central College (Minnesota) — Welding lab policy and manual.
Training and employee information
This section lists OSHA required employee safety training. The process of certifying welders covers all areas needed for welding proficiency; those training requirements are not covered in this section.
General training requirements
- §1910.252(a)(2)(iii)(B) Fire watchers must be trained in the use of fire extinguishing equipment.
- §1910.252(a)(2)(xiii)(C) Management must insist that cutters or welders and their supervisors are suitable trained in the safe operation of equipment and safe use of processes.
- Construction §1926.352(e) Fire watchers shall be instructed as to the specific anticipated fire hazards and how the firefighting equipment provided is to be used.
Training requirements for oxygen-fuel gas welding and cutting
- §1910.253(a)(4) Workmen in charge of oxygen or fuel-gas supply equipment, including generators and distribution piping systems, must be instructed before being left in charge. Rules and instructions must be readily available.
- Construction §1926.350(d) The employer shall thoroughly instruct employees in the safe use of fuel gas, per the further requirements in that paragraph.
Training requirements for arc welding and cutting
- §1910.254(a)(3) Operators of arc welding equipment must be properly instructed and qualified to operate such equipment. Operators and maintainers of arc welding equipment must be acquainted with the requirements of 1910.252(a), (b), and (c), and 1910.254(d).
- Construction §1926.351(d) Employers shall instruct employees in the safe means of arc welding and cutting as set out paragraph (d).
Training requirements for resistance welding
- §1910.255(a)(3) Operators of resistance welding equipment must be properly instructed and judged competent to operate such equipment.
Training requirement from other OSHA standards, as applicable
- Permit-required confined space
Training requirement from Z49.1-2005 consensus standard not otherwise listed
- Welders and their supervisors must be trained in the safe operation of equipment and use of processes, and in emergency procedures.
Regulations, interpretations and standards
Listed below are the major regulations that apply to welding, cutting and brazing operations on UW System campuses. Other regulations may apply to specific activities.
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) creates and enforces occupational safety and health rules for public employees in Wisconsin. DSPS has adopted OSHA’s General Industry and Construction standards, including the OSHA standards listed below that apply to welding, cutting and brazing operations. DSPS has also amended some rules that may pertain to these operations, including:
- SPS 332.24 Ventilation—The following paragraphs may pertain to these operations:
- (2) Exhaust ventilation at source of contamination and make-up air
- (3) Separation of exhaust systems
- (4) Disposal of exhaust material
- SPS 32.25 Compressed gases—Regarding securing cylinders.
- SPS 32.35 Air contaminants—Wisconsin public employee PELs for many air contaminants are lower than current federal OSHA PELs. See Welding, cutting and brazing hazards for links to PELs.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards individually linked below are the most current version published on the OSHA website. Sometimes, these standards will have been revised since DSPS adopted the July 1, 2003 version of the OSHA rules (these can be looked up at FDsys from the Government Printing Office).
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
1910 Subpart H - Hazardous Materials
- Appendix B, Non-mandatory compliance guidelines for hazard assessment and personal protective equipment selection
1910 Subpart Q, Welding, cutting, and brazing
- 1910.251, Definitions
- 1910.252, General requirements
- 1910.253, Oxygen-fuel gas welding and cutting
- 1910.254, Arc welding and cutting
- 1910.255, Resistance welding
1910 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
- 1910.1026, Chromium (VI)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
1926 Subpart J, Welding and cutting
- 1926.350, Gas welding and cutting
- 1926.351, Arc welding and cutting
- 1926.352, Fire prevention
- 1926.353, Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting, and heating
- 1926.354, Welding, cutting, and heating in way of preservative coatings
1926 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
There are many consensus standards either directly addressing welding, or practices that may involve welding.
- ANSI Z49.1—Safety in Welding and Cutting, 1967 edition was used by OSHA to develop their welding standard. The most current standard in the series is the 2005 edition, Safety in Welding, Cutting and Allied Processes. The American Welding Society provides a free download of this welding safety and health standard.
- NFPA 51B—Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work. The 2009 edition is the most current. [Note: The general requirements of OSHA’s welding, cutting and brazing standard at 29 CFR 1910.252 still incorporates the 1962 edition.]
- NFPA 51—Standard for the Design and Installation of Oxygen-Fuel Gas Systems for Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes. Current edition is 2007.
- CGA Pamphlet G-1-2003 (“Acetylene”)—Employers must ensure that the in-plant transfer, handling, storage, and use of acetylene in cylinders comply with the provisions of CGA Pamphlet G-1-2003 (Compressed Gas Association, Inc., 11th ed., 2003)
Related safety program areas
- Compressed gas
- Confined space
- Hot work programs
- Personal protective equipment
- Respiratory protection
Reference material, files, and websites
General reference material
American Welding Society Safety and Health Fact Sheets—Fact sheets covering 35 health and safety topic areas.
Welding and Manganese: Potential Neurologic Effects—NIOSH Workplace Safety & Health Topics.
Arc Welding Safety— Lance Fluegel and Bradley Rein, Arizona Cooperative Extension, 1989.
PPE Case Study: Welding—IUOE National Training Fund, National HAZMAT program. A three-minute video overview of required PPE.
Welding, Cutting, and Brazing General Requirements: Self-Inspection Checklist—DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101. The checklist applies to operations involving welding, cutting, brazing, and heating. It does not cover in detail regulations dealing with work in confined or enclosed spaces.
Welding, Cutting, and Brazing Checklist for General Industry and Construction—Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, HS03-004B (10-10).
Safety Requirements for Welding, Cutting and Brazing(checklist)—Kentucky Department of Workplace Standards.
Reference material for this webpage
- 29 CFR 1910 Subpart Q, Welding, cutting, and brazing.
- ANSI Z49.1:2005 — Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes.
- Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry–Engineering & Technology, 11th edition. National Safety Council.
- Welding, Cutting, and Brazing. OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics (webpage).
- OSHA Health and Safety Training Requirements. Michael McCann, Center for Safety in the Arts, 1995.
- The Artist’s Complete Health and Safety Guide, 3rd ed. Monona Rossol, 2001.
This publication was prepared for environmental, health and safety staff at University of Wisconsin System campuses, to assist in finding resources and information for regulatory compliance. It is not intended to render legal advice.
(Read full legal disclaimer.)