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Welding and cutting metal involves working around multiple hazards that cannot be completely eliminated. However, risk of incidents can be reduced by using safe work procedures, appropriate tools for the job and required personal protective equipment, including fire retardant clothing.
When workers are welding, cutting or soldering, the employer must:
- Maintain all the equipment in good working order.
- Make sure fire extinguishing equipment is readily available wherever welding, soldering, flame cutting or any other process where heat is being applied in the work area.
- Provide ventilation that removes fumes at their source so that airborne contaminants are at or below the permissible levels. Permissible levels are outlined in Part 11 of the Regulations.
- Provide tables, jigs or work benches made of non-flammable material.
- If workers are welding overhead, prevent slag and sparks from falling on people or any combustible material below.
- Place fire retardant blankets over open gratings to prevent slag and sparks from falling through the grating.
- Not allow welding, cutting or soldering around combustible materials, dusts, gases or vapours that may catch fire or explode.
- Separate welding and cutting areas from other work areas by placing stationary or portable screens between the work areas. Screens must be at least 1 800 mm (6 ft.) high and able to protect workers against heat, slag and sparks.
- Paint permanent and temporary walls and screens black or dark grey. Use a flat paint to absorb the harmful bright rays and prevent reflection.
- Ensure welding and cutting burners are equipped with reverse flow check valves installed as close as possible to the regulators.
The employer and worker must make sure that:
- All welding and cutting torches, their fittings and regulators are inspected before they are used.
- If an inspection reveals damage or problems with any equipment, make sure it is repaired or replaced. Repairs must be done by a competent person, using approved fittings in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
- The supply of gas is cut off if a leak develops. Do not resume work in the area, including all welding or cutting, until the leak is repaired.
Welding Pipes and Containers
Before reusing containers or pipes, certify in writing that they are now free from any combustible gases or vapours before applying any heat to those containers or pipes that held an explosive or flammable substance or gas. Work processes that apply heat include welding, soldering and cutting. If a used container or pipe cannot be certified as safe to work on, clean it thoroughly before applying any heat. Use steam or another effective means to clean the container or pipe. Perform air quality tests inside an uncertified used container or pipe to determine if it is completely free from combustible gases or vapours. Alternatively, the air in the container can be replaced by inert gas.
- disconnect and block off, or move out of alignment the inlet pipes or lock them in the closed position;
- remove any residual liquid from the outside of the container or pipe;
- when steam is available close all openings (except the vent pipe and steam inlet) and blow steam into the tank. Determine the length of time by the conditions and the nature of the liquid. Keep lids and manhole plates open at the end for 1/5 of the steaming period;
- keep the container or pipe filled with running water for at least 24 hours, if steam is not available;
- thoroughly ventilate the container or pipe with forced or induced draft air, for at least two hours after cleaning; and
- replace the air with a non-flammable gas. Do not use exhaust from an internal combustion engine.
A competent person must examine the inside of a container or pipe after ventilation, to make sure it is free from residue. The competent person must also take air samples to determine whether hazardous vapours have been removed. If tests indicate hazardous vapours are present, repeat steaming or flooding and ventilating operations.
Storing, Transporting and Working with Compressed Gas Cylinders
Employers must make sure workers understand the hazards associated with working with and around compressed gas. Workers must understand and follow the safe procedures for safely storing and transporting compressed gas cylinders.
- Completely shut off all gases before laying down a welding or cutting torch. Workers may not hang a welding or cutting torch from a regulator or other equipment if it could come into contact with a gas cylinder.
- Follow the Fire Prevention Act when using cylinders for compressed, liquefied and dissolved gases, including all their fittings and attachments.
- Do not store cylinders containing a flammable compressed gas in areas with oxygen cylinders or welding or cutting operations. Separate any welding or cutting work from such cylinders with a fire resistant partition that has a fire- resistance rating of at least two hours.
- Keep compressed gas cylinders in an upright position and secure them against falling during storage, transportation and use.
- Keep the portable acetylene or oxygen cylinders a safe distance from all work that creates flames, sparks, or molten metal. As well, make sure that any work will not result in excessively heating these cylinders.
- Never drop compressed gas cylinders or allow them to be knocked or bumped into other objects.
- Plainly mark hose lines carrying acetylene or oxygen and use different threads to avoid interchanging the hoses.
- Trucks transporting acetylene and oxygen cylinders must use restraints specifically designed for holding gas cylinders in place during transport.
- When the cylinders are moved or not in use, make sure protective caps on acetylene and oxygen cylinder valves are screwed on firmly.
- When emptying cylinders that contain liquefied gas, make sure workers do not heat the cylinders to speed up the process.
- Do not store cylinders containing flammable gas or empty compressed gas cylinders in any building or structure being constructed, renovated or demolished.
- Make sure acetylene and oxygen cylinders are held in an upright position by straps, collars or chains to prevent them from falling over. Cylinders must not be dropped or subjected to heavy blows.
- Make sure cylinders can be rapidly removed from their straps and holding devices in case of fire.
Personal Protective Equipment
Employers are responsible for making sure workers wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when welding or cutting. PPE must in good condition and able to protect the worker against expected hazards. In order to identify the risks a worker may be exposed to while welding or cutting, consider conducting a hazard assessment to identify possible hazards.
- Fire retardant work clothing;
- Fire retardant gauntlet type gloves and arm protection;
- Fire retardant aprons;
- Adequate eye and face protection such as safety glasses, goggles or face shields; and
- Safety boots.
Skin and Body protection
Take into consideration the work being performed when choosing what type and style of fire retardant work clothing for workers to wear. There is a difference between flame resistant and fire retardant clothing. Fire retardant clothing is made of fabric where a chemical treatment is applied to its fibers or the fabric as a finished product that reduces or prevents the fabric from catching fire. Certain cleaning and other maintenance procedures for fire retardant clothing or equipment can cause the protective chemical to wear off and lower the fabric's abrasion resistance or strength.
Also required are fire retardant aprons, gauntlet type gloves and arm protection. Gloves and arm protection must fit adequately. Gloves provide better protection when they are snug. It is acceptable for aprons to be not be made of a fire retardant material if they are made of another material providing equal protection.
Make sure workers are not wearing contact lenses:
- while welding;
- when there are gases, vapours or other materials in the work area that could harm the eyes when absorbed by the worker’s contact lenses; and
- when there is dust or other materials present that could harm the eyes or cause the worker to be distracted.
When workers are welding, cutting or soldering, the employer must ensure the air quality in the work area is not hazardous. If air quality tests indicate hazardous air quality, workers must use respirators that meet CSA standard Z180.1 Compressed Breathing Air to continue their work in that area. Selection and use of the respirators must meet CSA standard Z94.4 Selection, Care and Use of Respirators or a standard providing equal protection to the workers. Workers that are using respirators must be clean shaven where the respirator seals to the face.
- the area requires personal protective equipment;
- which the areas this applies to; and
- what hazards may be present.
Air Quality and Rescue Workers
When the work area has harmful concentrations of air contaminants or that may develop, employers must make sure trained rescue workers are available in case of emergency while workers are in that area. Rescue workers must have access to any necessary appropriate respirator or other equipment for their role.
- Have a rescue worker attending the air supply and able to affect a rescue, if a worker becomes unconscious or incapacitated.
- Provide workers with an extra supply of enough compressed breathable air to allow the worker enough time to escape or be rescued.
- take all reasonable precautions to protect their own health and safety;
- report any hazards or potential hazards they observe in the workplace, such as reporting airborne hexavalent chromium to the employer;
- cooperate with the employer and the safety committee or representative working to protect their health and safety and the health and safety of others;
- follow established safe work procedures; and
- cooperate with a medical surveillance program established by the employer.
Workers must wear the required PPE and be able to understand and follow the manufacturer's instructions. For instance, fire retardant clothing may have care and maintenance requirements for it to retain its fire retardant properties such as proper laundering, keeping it free of or other flammable residue.
Maintenance may also include storage instructions and other requirements to keep it in good repair. As well, PPE must be replaced or repaired when there is signs of significant wear such as fraying, tears or missing buttons.
(a) when applied to electrical installations, as defined under the Electrical Inspection Act R.S.P.E.I. 1974, Cap. E-2 and regulations, a person who is the holder of a subsisting license as issued under the Electrical Inspection Act;
(b) when applied to electrical utility linework, a person who is the holder of a subsisting Certificate of Qualification or a Certificate of Proficiency as issued by the Department for the construction or utility lineman trades; and
(c) when applied to communications and any other types of work covered by this Part, a person who demonstrates to the Division that he is qualified by knowledge, training and experience to perform an assigned task safely.
Part 11 VENTILATION
Section 11.1 Adequate ventilation
11.1 The employer shall ensure that the workplace is adequately ventilated by either natural or mechanical means such that the atmosphere does not endanger the health and safety of workers under normal working conditions.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Part 37 WELDING
Section 37.1 Ventilation
37.1 Where welding or cutting or soldering operations emit harmful fumes and gases, the employer shall ensure that ventilation is provided which will remove the fumes at the source required to maintain the airborne contaminants at or below the permissible levels as outlined in Part 11 of these regulations.
Section 37.2 Explosion precautions
37.2 The employer shall ensure that a welding and cutting operation is prohibited in an area containing combustible materials, or in the close proximity of explosive or flammable dusts, gases or vapours, unless adequate precautions are taken to prevent fires or explosions.
Section 37.3 Tables
37.3 The employer shall provide tables, jigs or work benches made of nonflammable material when needed for support during welding and cutting operations.
Section 37.4 Slag and sparks
37.4 Overhead welding and cutting operations shall be carried out in such a manner as to prevent slag and sparks from falling on persons or combustible materials located below a work area.
Section 37.5 Blankets
37.5 Fire retardant blankets shall be placed over open gratings to contain slag and sparks produced by welding and cutting operations.
Section 37.6 Screens
37.6 In places where welding and cutting operations are normally carried out and where persons other than the welders are working or passing, suitable stationary or portable screens at least 1 800 mm (6 ft.) high shall be used.
Section 37.7 Walls and screens
37.7 Walls and screens of both permanent and temporary enclosures for welding and cutting operations shall be painted with black or dark grey flat paint to absorb the harmful bright rays and prevent reflection.
Section 37.8 Fire extinguishing equipment
37.8 The employer shall ensure that adequate fire extinguishing equipment in good working order is readily available where any welding, soldering or flame-cutting or heating operations or any other process which uses heat application are performed.
Section 37.9 Safety clothing
37.9 The employer shall ensure that all workers engaged in welding or cutting operations wear, and all workers shall wear
(a) adequate fire retardant work clothing;
(b) fire retardant gauntlet type gloves and arm protection;
(c) an apron of fire retardant or other adequate materials;
(d) adequate eye and face protection against harmful radiation, or particles of molten metal, or while chipping and grinding welds; and
(e) safety boots which meet the requirements of section 45.15.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 37.10 Respirators
37.10 Approved respirator equipment shall be worn if tests of air samples indicate it is necessary.
Section 37.11 Inspection of torches
37.11 (1) The employer and worker shall ensure that welding and cutting torches, their fittings and regulators are inspected before use.
(2) Where inspection reveals faults in the equipment mentioned in subsection (1), the employer shall ensure that the equipment is repaired or replaced with approved fittings in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications by a competent person.
(3) The employer and worker shall ensure that the supply of gas is cut off to any part of the welding or cutting operation when a leak develops and that work is not resumed until the leak is repaired.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 37.12 Enclosed containers
37.12 (1) The employer and worker shall ensure that a welding or cutting operation is not undertaken on a totally enclosed container.
(2) The employer and worker shall ensure that a welding or cutting operation is not done on a container or pipe that has contained an explosive or flammable substance or gas.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 37.13 Certification
37.13 Where a container or pipe held an explosive or flammable substance or gas or if the previous contents are unknown, the employer shall ensure that welding, soldering or cutting operations or any other process which uses heat application are only undertaken when the employer is able to certify in writing that the container or pipe is free from combustible gases or vapours.
Section 37.14 Cleansing
37.14 When the employer is unable so to certify in writing to the officer, welding or cutting operations on any container or pipe that has held explosive or flammable substances shall only be undertaken after the container has been thoroughly cleansed by steam or other effective means; found, by air tests, to be completely free from combustible gases or vapours; or the air in the container has been replaced by inert gas.
Section 37.15 Procedure
37.15 In order to drain, clean and ventilate the container or pipe, the employer shall ensure that
(a) inlet pipes are disconnected and blocked off or moved out of alignment, or the inlet valves are locked in the closed position;
(b) where residual liquid remains, it is removed by workers located outside the container or pipe;
(c) where steam is available all openings, except the vent pipe and steam inlet, are closed and the steam is blown into the tank for a period of time suitable for the conditions and the nature of the liquid, with the lids and manhole plates open during the last one- fifth time of the steaming period;
(d) where steam is not available, the container or pipe is kept filled with running water for a period of at least 24 hours;
(e) after cleaning, the container or pipe is thoroughly ventilated with forced or induced draft air, for a minimum period of two hours;
(f) the air in the container or pipe is replaced by a non-flammable gas other than exhaust from an internal combustion engine;
(g) after ventilation, a competent person shall examine the interior of the container or pipe to see that it is free from residue and take air samples to ascertain that hazardous vapours have been removed;
(h) where the foregoing tests indicate the presence of hazardous vapours, the steaming or flooding and ventilating operations are repeated.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 37.16 Handling torches
37.16 (1) The worker shall ensure that a welding or cutting torch is not laid down until the gases have been completely shut off.
(2) The worker shall ensure that a welding or cutting torch is not hung from a regulator or other equipment so as to come in contact with a gas cylinder.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 37.17 Handling cylinders
37.17 The employer shall ensure that cylinders for compressed, liquefied and dissolved gases, their fittings and attachments are used in accordance with the Fire Prevention Act.
Section 37.18 Storage
37.18 The employer shall ensure that cylinders containing flammable compressed gas are not stored in areas where welding or cutting operations are carried out, or in areas containing oxygen cylinders, unless they are separated by a fire resistant partition having a fire- resistance rating of at least two hours.
Section 37.19 Compressed gas cylinders
37.19 (1) The employer shall ensure that compressed gas cylinders
(a) are kept in an upright position and secured against falling during storage, transportation and use;
(b) are not dropped or subjected to impact.
(2) Trucks used for transporting acetylene and oxygen cylinders shall have specially designed restraints for that purpose.
(3) Protective caps on acetylene and oxygen cylinder valves shall be screwed on firmly when the cylinders are being moved or not in use.
(4) Where portable acetylene and oxygen supply equipment is used, the cylinders shall be kept at a safe distance from all operations which produce flames, sparks or molten metal or result in excessive heating of the cylinder.
(5) Hose lines for conveying acetylene or oxygen from supply piping or cylinders to burners shall be different threads and shall be plainly marked to avoid interchanging the hose.
Section 37.20 Heating cylinders, prohibited
37.20 The person emptying cylinders charged with liquefied gas shall not hasten the process by directly heating the cylinders.
Section 37.21 Empty cylinders
37.21 (1) The employer shall ensure that empty compressed gas cylinders
(a) are stored in an area designed for such use; and
(b) are removed from any building or structure being constructed, or renovated or demolished.
(2) The employer shall ensure that cylinders containing flammable gas are not stored in a building or structure that is being constructed, or renovated or demolished.
Section 37.22 Securing in upright position
37.22 Acetylene and oxygen cylinders when in an upright position shall be held by straps, collars or chains to prevent them from falling over, and such cylinders shall not be dropped or subjected to heavy blows.
Section 37.23 Removal
37.23 Devices for holding cylinders shall be such that cylinders can be rapidly removed in case of fire.
Section 37.24 Reverse flow check valves
37.24 All welding and cutting burners shall be equipped with reverse flow check valves installed as close as possible to the regulators.
Part 45 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Section 45.7 Standard eye protection
45.7 The employer shall ensure that a worker exposed to a hazard which could irritate or injure the eyes or face wears protection appropriate to the hazard and which meets the standards and specifications of the CSA Standard Z94.3-15 , Eye and Face Protectors or a standard offering equivalent protection.
[EC2021-126, ss. 3, 42]
Section 45.10 Contact lenses
45.10 The employer shall ensure that no worker shall wear contact lenses where
(a) gases, vapours or other materials are present which when absorbed by contact lenses may harm the eyes; or
(b) dusts or other materials are present which may harm the eyes or cause distraction which may expose the worker to other injury.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 45.11 Contact lenses
45.11 A worker shall not wear contact lenses while welding.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
45.12 Repealed. [EC2007-652, s. 3]
Section 45.15 Footwear
45.15 The employer shall ensure that a worker on a worksite or at any place of employment who is exposed to a hazard which could injure the foot wears footwear which meets the standards and specifications of CSA Standard Z195-14 Protective Footwear or a standard offering equivalent protection.
[EC2021-126, ss. 3, 43]
Section 45.18 Standards
45.18 (1) The employer shall ensure that the selection, use and care of respirators meet the applicable standards and specifications set out and referred to in the CSA Standard Z94.4-18 , "Selection, Use, and Care of Respirators
(2) The employer shall ensure that where air is provided for the purpose of any respiratory protective equipment, the air meets the applicable standards and specifications set out and referred to in the CSA Standard Z180.1-19 , Compressed Breathing Air and Systems.
[EC2020-147, s. 7; EC2021-126, ss. 3, 44]
Section 45.19 Shaving
45.19 Every employer shall ensure that workers required to use a respirator shall be clean shaven where the respirator seals with the face.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 45.20 Signs
45.20 (1) Every employer shall ensure that access routes to work areas where workers may be exposed to oxygen deficient atmosphere or harmful concentrations of air contaminants shall be posted with signs and specifying
(a) the required personal protective equipment; and
(b) the areas and hazards involved.
(2) The employer shall ensure that sufficient workers who are trained in rescue procedures are immediately available whenever workers are working in areas where an oxygen deficient atmosphere or harmful concentrations of air contaminants exists or is likely to develop. The rescue workers shall have immediate access to appropriate breathing apparatus or other aids necessary to effect a rescue.
(3) The employer shall ensure that where a worker is wearing an approved air-line or approved air-hose type respirator in an atmosphere immediately harmful to the worker
(a) the air supply source shall be attended by another worker who shall be equipped to effect rescue or render assistance if the worker is rendered unconscious or otherwise incapacitated; and
(b) the worker shall be provided with and carry an auxiliary supply of compressed respirable air of sufficient capacity to enable the worker to escape from the area in an emergency or until rescue is effected.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
45.21 Repealed. [EC2004-632, s. 6]
45.22 - 45.23 Repealed. [EC2004-632, s. 7]
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01
Section 16 Duties of worker
16. (1) A worker, while at work, shall
(a) take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker's own occupational health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
(b) cooperate with the employer and with the other workers to protect the worker's own occupational health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
(c) wear or use such individual protective equipment as is required by this Act and the regulations;
(d) consult and cooperate with the committee or representative, if any;
(e) cooperate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations; and
(f) comply with this Act and the regulations and any policy or program established by an employer pursuant to this Act or the regulations.
(2) Where a worker believes that any item, device, material, equipment or machinery, condition or aspect of the workplace is or may be dangerous to the worker's occupational health or safety or that of other persons at or near the workplace, the worker
(a) shall immediately report it to a supervisor;
(b) shall, where the matter is not remedied to the worker's satisfaction, report it to the committee or the representative, if any; and
(c) may, where the matter is not remedied to the worker's satisfaction after the worker reports it in accordance with clauses (a) and (b), report it to an officer.
(3) Clause (2)(b) does not apply in respect of a complaint of harassment in the workplace.
[S.P.E.I. 2018, c. 45, s. 4]