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July 27, 2020
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Oxy-Fuel Cutting/Welding Hazards

Oxy-fuel welding and cutting operations require the selection and use of the appropriate types personal protection equipment (PPE).

Appropriate PPE may include welding goggles or a helmet, leather footwear, a welding jacket of sleeves, and insulated welding gloves.

Make sure that clothing is not make of synthetic materials, which can ignite.

To prevent burns, cover up as much of the body as possible with nature-fibered clothing worn under flame-retardant clothing such as a welding jacket or coveralls.

In order to prevent burns from slag or sparks, make sure to:

  • Tuck shirt tails into pants.
  • Avoid cuffing the bottom of the pant legs.
  • Wear leather work footwear and a welding cap when performing overhead work.
  • Work in a safe location away from other people.
  • Shut off the torch when not in use.
  • Don't leave a lighted torch on a bench or floor. The force of the flame can cause the torch to move.
  • Use clamps instead of holding the workpiece by hand.

Fumes are gases, vapors, or smoke that have a strong odor or can be dangerous to inhale. Fumes are generated during oxy-fuel cutting and welding operations.

Instances when work is performed on items with lead paint, chromium paint, cadmium plating are of particular concern.

Always perform oxy-fuel operations in a well-ventilated area. Fixed or mechanical ventilation, as well as properly selected respiratory protection, can reduce the risk of adverse health effects.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple, Inc., Olathe, KS;


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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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