Kevin Sayler

K2_AUTHOR_DESC: This column addresses everything about welding safety.

Kevin Sayler, CIH is a welding health and safety consultant who helps businesses increase profitability by reducing costs associated with workplace accidents, injuries and diseases. He specializes in the prevention of harmful exposures to employees. Visit Kevin's website at www.CascadeHealthSafety.com
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Welding on Hollow Structures (Part 1)

Written by  October 8, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA. October 8, 2012 - Most of us are familiar with the concept that if a gas is heated it expands. This is described by Charles Law. If you inflate a balloon at room temperature and then place it in a freezer it decreases in volume. The balloon then returns to its original volume if warmed to room temperature again.

But, what happens when the gas is heated inside a rigid container such as a hollow metal structure which can’t expand? As the temperature in the hollow space increases the pressure increases. This is one of the reasons we have to be careful when doing hotwork, such as welding, on hollow structures.

Hollow structures are addressed in Federal OSHA’s standard for welding, cutting and brazing. The standard, 29 CFR 1910.252(a)(3)(ii), requires that prior to hotwork on hollow spaces, voids or cavities, that a vent or hole be provided. This vent opening helps ensure pressure does not build up inside the space. This step prevents structural stress and potential failure of the metal structure which could injure the welder. The OSHA standard specifically notes preheating, cutting and welding where a vent is required, but is applicable to any process which significantly increases the metal’s temperature.

In the next article we will look at the hazards of performing hotwork on hollow structures which have residues, atmospheres or materials inside which can create fires or explosions. These types of incidents are all too common and have caused injuries and fatalities to many welders over the years.

Author Bio:
Kevin Sayler, CIH is a health and safety consultant who helps businesses increase profitability by reducing costs associated with workplace accidents, injuries and occupational diseases. He specializes in the prevention of harmful exposures to employees.
 
Contact Info:
Kevin Sayler
email: KevinSayler@weld.com
Ph: (360) 420-2985
Website: www.CascadeHealthSafety.com

Last modified on October 11, 2012