1 Precautions and Safe Practices FUMES and GASES can harm your health. Keep your head out of the fumes. Do not breathe fumes and gases caused by the arc. Use enough ventilation. The type and the amount of fumes and gases depend on the equipment and supplies used. Air samples can be used to find out what respiratory protection is needed. Provide enough ventilation wherever welding and cutting are performed. Proper ventilation will protect the operator from the evolving noxious fumes and gases. The degree and type of ventilation will depend on the specific welding and cutting operation. It varies with the size of work area; on the number of operators; and on the types of materials to be welded or cut. Potentially hazardous materials may exist in certain fluxes, coatings, and filler metals. They can be released into the atmosphere during welding and cutting. In some cases, general natural-draft ventilation may be adequate. Other operations may require forced-draft ventilation, local exhaust hoods or booths, or personal filter respirators or air supplied masks. Welding inside tanks, boilers, or other confined spaces require special procedures, such as the use of an air supplied hood or hose mask. Check the welding atmosphere and ventilation system if workers develop unusual symptoms or complaints. Measurements may be needed to determine whether adequate ventilation is being provided. A qualified person, such as an industrial hygienist, should survey the welding operations and environment. Follow their recommendations for improving the ventilation of the work area. Do not weld on dirty plate or plate contaminated with unknown material. The fumes and gases which are formed could be hazardous to your health. Remove all paint and galvanized coatings before welding. All fumes and gases should be considered as potentially hazardous. More complete information on health protection and ventilation recommendations for general welding and cutting can be found in the American National Standard Z49.1, ”Safety in Welding and Cutting”.
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