#113 Plumbing/Welding/Cutting

Using an open flame during operations on a construction jobsite, such as for plumbing, welding and cutting, needs to be done very carefully. Operators have a responsibility to take all necessary safety precautions to ensure they do not cause a fire. Remember that practically anything can burn if it gets hot enough. Such operations generate sparks and hot slag, which can ignite combustibles around the plumbing/welding operation. A very hot open flame is even more likely to ignite nearby materials!

Inspect plumbing and welding equipment and check your work area before you begin the job. Wood, paper, and other combustibles must be removed or properly shielded. Always keep your welding operation away from flammable liquids. Control sparks and know where your slag is falling. If you’re operating on a roof, make sure you have clear egress. A fire watch may be needed in the area where you are working, on the floor below, and in some cases even a floor above – remember, sparks can be carried by the wind. Be sure that you or your “fire watch” have a fully charged fire extinguisher on hand ready to use, and that you know what emergency procedures to follow in case things get out of control. Building and apartment fires are frequently caused by these operations and can be prevented if workers use their heads, plan their work, and follow basic safety practices.

Proper eye protection should be used. Examine equipment for defects before use. Remember that oil and grease in the presence of oxygen become highly flammable or even explosive. Oxygen and Acetylene hoses should not be interchanged. They are distinguishable either by color or by surface characteristics that you can feel. Always open cylinder valves slowly and carefully, close valves completely on empty cylinders, and keep valve protection caps in place whenever cylinders are not in use. Never tamper with the relief valve or remove it from a regulator. Regulators should only be maintained by a qualified technician. Butane/Propane canisters should be stored and discarded safely.