Welders tell researchers why they don’t always wear PPE

"Hazards of welding"
Image: rusak/iStockphoto

Tempe, AZ — A recent study indicates that many welding workers believe some of their tasks don’t warrant the use of personal protective equipment.

Commissioned by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, researchers from Arizona State University surveyed 124 members of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. They also interviewed 23 workers from nonunion firms in the Southwest United States that have fewer than 10 employees.

The result: Nearly 64% of the workers who were surveyed said they’ve heard co-workers say a welding task was too simple or quick to make shields or ventilation equipment necessary. An equal percentage cited “personal preference,” while 63% find PPE uncomfortable and 60% said it’s inconvenient or “too much trouble.”

At the same time, 10 of the 23 workers who were interviewed said their employers don’t provide any safety measures or equipment, while 13 said their employers offered only general PPE such as gloves or eye and ear protection. Hazards associated with welding include burns and exposure to fumes and nanomaterials.

Those workers agreed that their experiences likely differed from the survey group’s “because contractors belonging to professional associations employ union workers who have documented safety requirements.”

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Hot work hazards

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Hot Work Hazards - McCraren Compliance

Burning, welding, cutting, brazing, soldering, grinding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or other work that produces a source of ignition – these are all examples of hot work hazards.

Employers need to create a program to ensure hot work is performed safely. Here’s what OSHA says an effective program looks like:

  • Before issuing a hot work permit (which should be prepared in advance of work beginning), a job hazard assessment needs to be conducted. That includes getting input from workers knowledgeable of the potential dangers.
  • Before work begins, implement controls to eliminate identified hazards.
  • If hazards develop during work operations, routine monitoring must be conducted to ensure these hazards don’t pose a risk to workers.
  • If the hazards can’t be mitigated, operations must be stopped and the elimination of hazards verified before hot work begins.
  • Share with all workers relevant information about ongoing operations that could create hazardous conditions.
  • Workers familiar with the hot work process should be available to assist specialty subcontractors to ensure safe working conditions.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Worker deaths prompt MSHA safety alert about welds on aerial lifts

Washington — In response to several fatalities resulting from damaged or defective welds on aerial lifts, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert.

Published March 23, the alert details an incident in which a weld splice on the repaired arm of a lift fractured because of poor weld quality, killing a mechanic on board. In another incident, a welder died when a lift arm “catastrophically fractured at a critical weld connecting the arm support to its lift cylinder.” In this case, cracks in the weld and the surrounding metal went undetected.

MSHA provides several best practices to help avoid similar tragedies:

  • Use only qualified welders to perform all welding.
  • Inspect all welds after installation and repairs, and perform periodic inspections on welds during an aerial lift’s service life.
  • Consult with manufacturers to determine service/fatigue life of mechanical systems or parts.
  • Educate users on proper lift operations, including how to avoid exceeding “design capacity.”
  • Perform routine examinations of metal components for signs of weakness, corrosion, fatigue cracks, bends, buckling or missing connectors, etc.
  • Use nondestructive test methods to detect cracks that might be indistinguishable to the human eye.
  • Remove cracked mechanical components from service immediately.

“Small cracks can quickly grow and lead to catastrophic fracture,” the alert warns.