Welding, cutting, and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries. The risk from fatal injuries alone is more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.
Welding, cutting, and brazing is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, and construction industry.
This section highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to welding, cutting, and brazing.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
- 1910 Subpart I, Personal protective equipment [related topic page]
- Appendix B, Non-mandatory compliance guidelines for hazard assessment and personal protective equipment selection
- 1910 Subpart Q, Welding, cutting, and brazing
- 1910 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances [related topic page]
Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)
- 1915 Subpart D, Welding, cutting and heating
- 1915.51, Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating
- 1915.52, Fire prevention. This section has been superseded by 1915 Subpart P, Fire protection in shipyard employment (see below).
- 1915.53, Welding, cutting and heating in way of preservative coatings
- 1915.54, Welding, cutting and heating of hollow metal containers and structures not covered by 29 CFR 1915.12
- 1915.55, Gas welding and cutting
- 1915.56, Arc welding and cutting
- 1915.57, Use of fissionable material in ship repairing and shipbuilding
- 1915 Subpart I, Personal protective equipment
- Appendix A, Non-mandatory guidelines for hazard assessment, personal protective equipment (PPE) selection, and PPE training program
- 1915 Subpart P, Fire protection in shipyard employment
- 1915.501, General provisions
- 1915.502, Fire safety plan
- 1915.503, Precautions for hot work
- 1915.504, Fire watches
- 1915.505, Fire response
- 1915.506, Hazards of fixed extinguishing systems on board vessels and vessel sections
- 1915.507, Land-side fire protection systems
- 1915.508, Training
- 1915.509, Definitions applicable to this subpart
- 1915 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
- 1915.1026, Chromium (VI)
Marine Terminals (29 CFR 1917)
- 1917 Subpart G, Related terminal operations and equipment
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- 1926 Subpart J, Welding and cutting
- 1926 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
Preambles to Final Rules
- Air Contaminants (1989)
- Cadmium (1992)
- Personal Protective Equipment for General Industry (1994)
- Search all available preambles to final rules.
- Welding, Cutting and Brazing; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Aproval of Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements. Notice 66:29599-29601, (2001, May 31).
- Safety Standards in Shipyard Employment for Scaffolds; Welding, Cutting, and Heating; Access and Egress; and Fall Protection. Proposed Rules 67:13117, (2002, March 31).
- Search all available Federal Registers.
- Shipyard Employment “Tool Bag” Directive. CPL 02-00-142, (2006, August 3). Provides the tools needed to support shipyard employment industry intervention and inspection programs.
- Application of the Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS) Standards, 29 CFR 1910.146. CPL 02-00-100 [CPL 2.100], (1995, May 5). Establishes enforcement policy and provides explanation of 29 CFR 1910.146 to ensure uniform enforcement.
- 29 CFR 1926.451(w) and 29 CFR 1926.451(a)(18) as Applied to Welding Required on Float or Ship Scaffolds. STD 03-10-006 [STD 3-10.6], (1982, August 16). Clarifies the application of 29 CFR 1926.451 to welding on float or ship scaffolds.
- 29 CFR 1926.350(a)(9) Securing of Compressed Gas Cylinders. STD 03-08-002 [STD 3-8.2], (1981, March 11). Emphasizes that 29 CFR 1926.350(a)(9) applies to transporting, moving and storing compressed gas cylinders at construction sites only.
- Replacement Welding Tips. STD 01-14-001 [STD 1-14.1], (1978, October 30). The use of replacement tips will not nullify the “approved apparatus” status of a torch, if the replacement tips are made to the same specifications as the original tip.
- Welding, Cutting or Heating of Metals Coated with Lead-Bearing Paint. STD 03-08-001 [STD 3-8.1], (1978, October 30). Explains the requirements imposed by 29 CFR 1926.353(c)(2)(i) and 29 CFR 1926.354(c)(1) when welding, cutting or heating is performed in an enclosed space on metals coated with lead-bearing paint.
- Search all available directives.
- Removal of regulators and use of valve protection caps when hoisting compressed gas cylinders. (2004, March 30).
- Employer’s responsibility to protect employees from workplace hazards through appropriate hazard control methods. (2003, June 5).
- Welder electrical safety training. (1998, March 12).
- Conflict between requirements of 1910.252 and 1910.146. (1993, July 30).
- Welding and noise in confined space. (1992, January 6).
- Wearing of contact lenses while welding. (1982, October 22).
- Methylacetylene-propadiene (MAPP), stabilized, by definition, is not a liquefied petroleum gas, but is considered a fuel gas. (1976, April 16).
- Search all available standard interpretations.
Health hazards from welding, cutting, and brazing operations include exposures to metal fumes and to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Safety hazards from these operations include burns, eye damage, electrical shock, cuts, and crushed toes and fingers. Many of these can be controlled with proper work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE). The following links provide information about potential hazards and possible solutions associated with these operations.
Potential Hazards and Possible Solutions
- Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards [286 KB PDF*, 63 pages]. OSHA Publication 3320-10N, (2006).
- Fatal Fire with “nonflammable” Methyl Chloroform with Welding in a Vapor Degreaser. OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB), (1987, September 23).
- Hexavalent Chromium. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Arc Welding Safety. National Ag Safety Database (NASD), (1989, May). Also available as a 160 KB PDF, 4 pages. Provides suggestions and guidelines to minimize a number of hazards involving the electric arc welder.
- For additional information on general safety and health concerns, see OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
- Chemicals Commonly Associated with Welding, Cutting, and Brazing. OSHA.
- OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20).
- Personal Sampling for Air Contaminants. Includes a section on sampling for welding fumes.
- The Use of Combination Oxygen and Combustible Gas Detectors. OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB), (1990, January 18). Alerts field personnel of some of the shortcomings/limitations of using combination oxygen and combustible gas detectors
- Welding Fumes Sampling. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Occupational Illness and Injury Prevention Program Health Topic. Provides guidance on hazards associated with welding and procedures for chemical sampling.
- NIOSH Strategic Research on Welding Identifies Data Needs, Advances Studies. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Update, (2003, August 20).
- For additional information, see OSHA’s Sampling and Analysis Safety and Health Topics Page.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- Construction Industry Safety and Health Outreach Program. OSHA, (1996, May). Contains two sections on welding, cutting, and brazing:
- Machinery Safety: Welding. National Ag Safety Database (NASD). Provides abstracts for videos related to welding safety.
- Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a 260 KB PDF, 56 pages.