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.
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.
Ph: (360) 420-2985