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If you oversee a workplace in which welding occurs, then you already know how important meticulous and safe supervision is. However, there are so many potential hazards in welding environments that it can sometimes be hard to keep track of them all. If you want to make sure your workplace is carrying out safe, responsible welding practices, then use this welding safety inspection checklist. The checklist breaks down essential safety measures you have to maintain in your workplace each day.
Don’t allow unauthorized personnel to wander around the welding environment freely. The only employees who should have the authorization to use or be around welding stations are those who need to do this to complete their job.
Prior to a new welder’s first day on the job, provide them with sufficient training with the machine and materials they’ll be using on a regular basis.
Consider offering refresher training courses to employees so they can sharpen their knowledge of your company’s guidelines and expectations.
Throughout this list, you’ll see mentions of employees reporting problems in the workplace. This is why it’s important for employees to have a clear understanding of who their superiors are and, more specifically, who they should reach out to if they spot problems like fire hazards, broken equipment, and other issues that require attention.
Because of the toxic fumes that can build up during a weld, the area should have proper ventilation. Even when employees are using respirators, supplying proper ventilation to the work environment is essential for all facilities in which welding occurs.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide welders with the right welding protective gear, which can vary slightly depending on the type of welding methods used in your facility. Remind employees to reach out if they lack the right PPE for the job.
If you’re doing your part to provide the PPE, you should also take the extra step to ensure the employees are doing their part by wearing it when need be.
Does your facility have proper signage for warning pedestrians and employees?
Welding areas should have proper signage to inform pedestrians and employees where they are and what hazards are present in the environment.
Workstations, doorways, and aisles should be free of clutter to prevent people from tripping and to minimize fire hazards.
Remove fire hazards from the environment. If unremovable fire hazards are present, employees must cover them with a fire-retardant material and inform a fire watcher of the situation. Remember that cracks in the floor and ceiling can house sparks and debris, so you and your employees must treat them as fire hazards that require proper coverage as well.
Fire watchers should be available to monitor the environment for fire hazards during and after a weld. This is particularly for environments containing immovable fire hazards.
Your facility should have a healthy supply of fire extinguishers and fire blankets on standby. The number of each should be in accordance with the number of employees and weld stations in the environment.
Aside from simply having fire extinguishers and fire blankets available, you need to make sure they’re not too far away from welders. Your employees need to have immediate access to fire safety equipment at all times.
Just like fire extinguishers/blankets, emergency amenities like first aid kits and eyewash stations should be nearby for welders to use at a moment’s notice.
Welding components like cables, torches, and electrode holders need proper insulation, but beyond that, the welders themselves need to utilize PPE, like dry insulation gloves, to safely perform certain tasks.
Furthermore, welders need to ground components such as the workpiece, worktable, or the welding machine when necessary. Failure to do so can lead to welders to experience electric shocks.
If grounding cables are in poor condition, employees should inform a superior and replace them immediately.
Do you store gas cylinders in areas with sufficient ventilation and space?
Storing gas cylinders in a well-ventilated, spacious environment is necessary for keeping them safe and ready for use in welds.
Gas cylinder storage must be clear of combustible materials, heat sources, and other fire hazards to maintain safety measures as well.
Are gas cylinders properly labeled?
Gas cylinders should have labels that clearly explain what’s inside.
Gas cylinders should be free of scratches, punctures, leaks, rust, and other forms of damage at all times. Any damaged cylinders need to be immediately reported and replaced.
Your facility should have clearly labeled and optimized storage areas for welding equipment. Additionally, you have to teach employees where and how to store their equipment. Don’t allow welders to simply leave equipment scattered about the environment. Doing so can lead to the gear sustaining damage or causing injuries to nearby personnel.
This welding safety inspection checklist will help you enforce the proper practices to ensure your workplace remains as efficient as it is safe. If you discover that your workplace doesn’t abide by the principles mentioned above, then you need to take the right steps in order to ensure that changes immediately. Safety should never be an afterthought in the workplace; it should be a top priority at all times.