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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1915 → Subpart D


Title 29: Labor
PART 1915—OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH STANDARDS FOR SHIPYARD EMPLOYMENT


Subpart D—Welding, Cutting and Heating


Contents
§1915.51   Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating.
§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 §1915.12.
§1915.55   Gas welding and cutting.
§1915.56   Arc welding and cutting.
§1915.57   Uses of fissionable material in ship repairing and shipbuilding.

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§1915.51   Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating.

(a) The provisions of this section shall apply to all ship repairing, shipbuilding, and shipbreaking operations; except that paragraph (e) of this section shall apply only to ship repairing and shipbuilding. Paragraph (g) of this section shall apply only to ship repairing.

(b) Mechanical ventilation requirements. (1) For purposes of this section, mechanical ventilation shall meet the following requirements:

(i) Mechanical ventilation shall consist of either general mechanical ventilation systems or local exhaust systems.

(ii) General mechanical ventilation shall be of sufficient capacity and so arranged as to produce the number of air changes necessary to maintain welding fumes and smoke within safe limits.

(iii) Local exhaust ventilation shall consist of freely movable hoods intended to be placed by the welder or burner as close as practicable to the work. This system shall be of sufficient capacity and so arranged as to remove fumes and smoke at the source and keep the concentration of them in the breathing zone within safe limits.

(iv) Contaminated air exhausted from a working space shall be discharged into the open air or otherwise clear of the source of intake air.

(v) All air replacing that withdrawn shall be clean and respirable.

(vi) Oxygen shall not be used for ventilation purposes, comfort cooling, blowing dust or dirt from clothing, or for cleaning the work area.

(c) Welding, cutting and heating in confined spaces. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(3) and (d)(2) of this section either general ventilation meeting the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section shall be provided whenever welding, cutting or heating is performed in a confined space.

(2) The means of access shall be provided to a confined space and ventilation ducts to this space shall be arranged in accordance with §1915.76(b) (1) and (2).

(3) When sufficient ventilation cannot be obtained without blocking the means of access, employees in the confined space shall be protected by air line respirators in accordance with the requirements of §1915.154, and an employee on the outside of such a confined space shall be assigned to maintain communication with those working within it and to aid them in an emergency.

(d) Welding, cutting or heating of metals of toxic significance. (1) Welding, cutting or heating in any enclosed spaces aboard the vessel involving the metals specified below shall be performed with either general mechanical or local exhaust ventilation meeting the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section:

(i) Zinc-bearing base or filler metals or metals coated with zinc-bearing materials.

(ii) Lead base metals.

(iii) Cadmium-bearing filler materials.

(iv) Chromium-bearing metals or metals coated with chromium-bearing materials.

(2) Welding, cutting or heating in any enclosed spaces aboard the vessel involving the metals specified below shall be performed with local exhaust ventilation in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section or employees shall be protected by air line respirators in accordance with the requirements of §1915.154:

(i) Metals containing lead, other than as an impurity, or metals coated with lead-bearing materials.

(ii) Cadmium-bearing or cadmium coated base metals.

(iii) Metals coated with mercury-bearing metals.

(iv) Beryllium-containing base or filler metals. Because of its high toxicity, work involving beryllium shall be done with both local exhaust ventilation and air line respirators.

(3) Employees performing such operations in the open air shall be protected by filter type respirators, and employees performing such operations on beryllium-containing base or filler metals shall be protected by air line respirators, in accordance with the requirements of §1915.154.

(4) Other employees exposed to the same atmosphere as the welders or burners shall be protected in the same manner as the welder or burner.

(e) Inert-gas metal-arc welding. (1) Since the inert-gas metal-arc welding process involves the production of ultraviolet radiation of intensities of 5 to 30 times that produced during shielded metal-arc welding, the decomposition of chlorinated solvents by ultraviolet rays, and the liberation of toxic fumes and gases, employees shall not be permitted to engage in, or be exposed to the process until the following special precautions have been taken:

(i) The use of chlorinated solvents shall be kept at least two hundred (200) feet from the exposed arc, and surfaces prepared with chlorinated solvents shall be thoroughly dry before welding is permitted on such surfaces.

(ii) Helpers and other employees in the area not protected from the arc by screening as provided in §1915.56(e) shall be protected by filter lenses meeting the requirements of §1915.153. When two or more welders are exposed to each other's arc, filter lens goggles of a suitable type meeting the requirements of §1915.153 shall be worn under welding helmets or hand shields to protect the welder against flashes and radiant energy when either the helmet is lifted or the shield is removed.

(iii) Welders and other employees who are exposed to radiation shall be suitably protected so that the skin is covered completely to prevent burns and other damage by ultraviolet rays. Welding helmets and hand shields shall be free of leaks and openings, and free of highly reflective surfaces.

(iv) When inert-gas metal-arc welding is being performed on stainless steel, the requirements of paragraph (d)(2) of this section shall be met to protect against dangerous concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

(f) General welding, cutting, and heating. (1) Welding, cutting and heating not involving conditions or materials described in paragraph (c), (d) or (e) of this section may normally be done without mechanical ventilation or respiratory protective equipment, but where, because of unusual physical or atmospheric conditions, an unsafe accumulation of contaminants exists, suitable mechanical ventilation or respiratory protective equipment shall be provided.

(2) Employees performing any type of welding, cutting or heating shall be protected by suitable eye protective equipment in accordance with the requirements of §1915.153.

(g) Residues and cargoes of metallic ores. (1) Residues and cargoes of metallic ores of toxic significance shall be removed from the area or protected from the heat before ship repair work which involves welding, cutting or heating is begun.

[47 FR 16986, Apr. 20, 1982, as amended at 67 FR 44541, July 3, 2002]

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§1915.53   Welding, cutting and heating in way of preservative coatings.

(a) The provisions in this section shall apply to all ship repairing, shipbuilding and shipbreaking operations except for paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section which shall apply to ship repairing and shipbulding and shall not apply to shipbreaking.

(b) Before welding, cutting or heating is commenced on any surface covered by a preservative coating whose flammability is not known, a test shall be made by a competent person to determine its flammability. Preservative coatings shall be considered to be highly flammable when scrapings burn with extreme rapidity.

(c) Precautions shall be taken to prevent ignition of highly flammable hardened preservative coatings. When coatings are determined to be highly flammable they shall be stripped from the area to be heated to prevent ignition, or, where shipbreaking is involved, the coatings may be burned away under controlled conditions. A 112 inch or larger fire hose with fog nozzle, which has been uncoiled and placed under pressure, shall be immediately available for instant use in the immediate vicinity, consistent with avoiding freezing of the hose.

(d) Protection against toxic preservative coatings. (1) In enclosed spaces, all surfaces covered with toxic preservatives shall be stripped of all toxic coatings for a distance of at least 4 inches from the area of heat application or the employees shall be protected by air line respirators meeting the requirements of §1915.154.

(2) In the open air, employees shall be protected by a filter type respirator in accordance with the requirements of §1915.154.

(e) Before welding, cutting or heating is commenced in enclosed spaces on metals covered by soft and greasy preservatives, the following precautions shall be taken:

(1) A competent person shall test the atmosphere in the space to ensure that it does not contain explosive vapors, since there is a possibility that some soft and greasy preservatives may have flash points below temperatures which may be expected to occur naturally. If such vapors are determined to be present, no hot work shall be commenced until such precautions have been taken as will ensure that the welding, cutting or heating can be performed in safety.

(2) The preservative coatings shall be removed for a sufficient distance from the area to be heated to ensure that the temperature of the unstripped metal will not be appreciably raised. Artificial cooling of the metal surrounding the heated area may be used to limit the size of the area required to be cleaned. The prohibition contained in §1915.34(b)(2) shall apply.

(f) Immediately after welding, cutting or heating is commenced in enclosed spaces on metal covered by soft and greasy preservatives, and at frequent intervals thereafter, a competent person shall make tests to ensure that no flammable vapors are being produced by the coatings. If such vapors are determined to be present, the operation shall be stopped immediately and shall not be resumed until such additional precautions have been taken as are necessary to ensure that the operation can be resumed safely.

[47 FR 16986, Apr. 20, 1982, as amended at 67 FR 44542, July 3, 2002]

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§1915.54   Welding, cutting and heating of hollow metal containers and structures not covered by §1915.12.

The provisions of this section shall apply to ship repairing, shipbuilding and shipbreaking.

(a) Drums, containers, or hollow structures which have contained flammable substances shall, before welding, cutting, or heating is undertaken on them, either be filled with water or thoroughly cleaned of such substances and ventilated and tested.

(b) Before heat is applied to a drum, container, or hollow structure, a vent or opening shall be provided for the release of any built-up pressure during the application of heat.

(c) Before welding, cutting, heating or brazing is begun on structural voids such as skegs, bilge keels, fair waters, masts, booms, support stanchions, pipe stanchions or railings, a competent person shall inspect the object and, if necessary, test it for the presence of flammable liquids or vapors. If flammable liquids or vapors are present, the object shall be made safe.

(d) Objects such as those listed in paragraph (c) of this section shall also be inspected to determine whether water or other non-flammable liquids are present which, when heated, would build up excessive pressure. If such liquids are determined to be present, the object shall be vented, cooled, or otherwise made safe during the application of heat.

(e) Jacketed vessels shall be vented before and during welding, cutting or heating operations in order to release any pressure which may build up during the application of heat.

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§1915.55   Gas welding and cutting.

The provisions of this section shall apply to ship repairing, shipbuilding and shipbreaking.

(a) Transporting, moving and storing compressed gas cylinders. (1) Valve protection caps shall be in place and secure. Oil shall not be used to lubricate protection caps.

(2) When cylinders are hoisted, they shall be secured on a cradle, slingboard or pallet. They shall not be hoisted by means of magnets or choker slings.

(3) Cylinders shall be moved by tilting and rolling them on their bottom edges. They shall not be intentionally dropped, struck, or permitted to strike each other violently.

(4) When cylinders are transported by vehicle, they shall be secured in position.

(5) Valve protection caps shall not be used for lifting cylinders from one vertical position to another. Bars shall not be used under valves or valve protection caps to pry cylinders loose when frozen. Warm, not boiling, water shall be used to thaw cylinders loose.

(6) Unless cylinders are firmly secured on a special carrier intended for this purpose, regulators shall be removed and valve protection caps put in place before cylinders are moved.

(7) A suitable cylinder truck, chain, or other steadying device shall be used to keep cylinders from being knocked over while in use.

(8) When work is finished, when cylinders are empty or when cylinders are moved at any time, the cylinder valves shall be closed.

(9) Acetylene cylinders shall be secured in an upright position at all times except, if necessary, for short periods of time while cylinders are actually being hoisted or carried.

(b) Placing cylinders. (1) Cylinders shall be kept far enough away from the actual welding or cutting operation so that sparks, hot slag or flame will not reach them. When this is impractical, fire resistant shields shall be provided.

(2) Cylinders shall be placed where they cannot become part of an electrical circuit. Electrodes shall not be struck against a cylinder to strike an arc.

(3) Fuel gas cylinders shall be placed with valve end up whenever they are in use. They shall not be placed in a location where they would be subject to open flame, hot metal, or other sources of artificial heat.

(4) Cylinders containing oxygen or acetylene or other fuel gas shall not be taken into confined spaces.

(c) Treatment of cylinders. (1) Cylinders, whether full or empty, shall not be used as rollers or supports.

(2) No person other than the gas supplier shall attempt to mix gases in a cylinder. No one except the owner of the cylinder or person authorized by him shall refill a cylinder. No one shall use a cylinder's contents for purposes other than those intended by the supplier. Only cylinders bearing Interstate Commerce Commission identification and inspection markings shall be used.

(3) No damaged or defective cylinder shall be used.

(d) Use of fuel gas. The employer shall thoroughly instruct employees in the safe use of fuel gas, as follows:

(1) Before connecting a regulator to a cylinder valve, the valve shall be opened slightly and closed immediately. (This action is generally termed “cracking” and is intended to clear the valve of dust or dirt that might otherwise enter the regulator.) The person cracking the valve shall stand to one side of the outlet, not in front of it. The valve of a fuel gas cylinder shall not be cracked where the gas would reach welding work, sparks, flame or other possible sources of ignition.

(2) The cylinder valve shall always be opened slowly to prevent damage to the regulator. To permit quick closing, valves on fuel gas cylinders shall not be opened more than 112 turns. When a special wrench is required, it shall be left in position on the stem of the valve while the cylinder is in use so that the fuel gas flow can be shut off quickly in case of an emergency. In the case of manifolded or coupled cylinders, at least one such wrench shall always be available for immediate use. Nothing shall be placed on top of a fuel gas cylinder, when in use, which may damage the safety device or interfere with the quick closing of the valve.

(3) Fuel gas shall not be used from cylinders through torches or other devices which are equipped with shut-off valves without reducing the pressure through a suitable regulator attached to the cylinder valve or manifold.

(4) Before a regulator is removed from a cylinder valve, the cylinder valve shall always be closed and the gas released from the regulator.

(5) If, when the valve on a fuel gas cylinder is opened, there is found to be a leak around the valve stem, the valve shall be closed and the gland nut tightened. If this action does not stop the leak, the use of the cylinder shall be discontinued, and it shall be properly tagged and removed from the vessel. In the event that fuel gas should leak from the cylinder valve rather than from the valve stem and the gas cannot be shut off, the cylinder shall be properly tagged and removed from the vessel. If a regulator attached to a cylinder valve will effectively stop a leak through the valve seat, the cylinder need not be removed from the vessel.

(6) If a leak should develop at a fuse plug or other safety device, the cylinder shall be removed from the vessel

(e) Fuel gas and oxygen manifolds. (1) Fuel gas and oxygen manifolds shall bear the name of the substance they contain in letters at least one (1) inch high which shall be either painted on the manifold or on a sign permanently attached to it.

(2) Fuel gas and oxygen manifolds shall be placed in safe and accessible locations in the open air. They shall not be located within enclosed spaces.

(3) Manifold hose connections, including both ends of the supply hose that lead to the manifold, shall be such that the hose cannot be interchanged between fuel gas and oxygen manifolds and supply header connections. Adapters shall not be used to permit the interchange of hose. Hose connections shall be kept free of grease and oil.

(4) When not in use, manifold and header hose connections shall be capped.

(5) Nothing shall be placed on top of a manifold, when in use, which will damage the manifold or interfere with the quick closing of the valves.

(f) Hose. (1) Fuel gas hose and oxygen hose shall be easily distinguishable from each other. The contrast may be made by different colors or by surface characteristics readily distinguishable by the sense of touch. Oxygen and fuel gas hoses shall not be interchangeable. A single hose having more than one gas passage, a wall failure of which would permit the flow of one gas into the other gas passage, shall not be used.

(2) When parallel sections of oxygen and fuel gas hose are taped together not more than 4 inches out of 8 inches shall be covered by tape.

(3) All hose carrying acetylene, oxygen, natural or manufactured fuel gas, or any gas or substance which may ignite or enter into combustion or be in any way harmful to employees, shall be inspected at the beginning of each shift. Defective hose shall be removed from service.

(4) Hose which has been subjected to flashback or which shows evidence of severe wear or damage shall be tested to twice the normal pressure to which it is subject, but in no case less than two hundered (200) psi. Defective hose or hose in doubtful condition shall not be used.

(5) Hose couplings shall be of the type that cannot be unlocked or disconnected by means of a straight pull without rotary motion.

(6) Boxes used for the stowage of gas hose shall be ventilated.

(g) Torches. (1) Clogged torch tip openings shall be cleaned with suitable cleaning wires, drills or other devices designed for such purpose.

(2) Torches shall be inspected at the beginning of each shift for leaking shutoff valves, hose couplings, and tip connections. Defective torches shall not be used.

(3) Torches shall be lighted by friction lighters or other approved devices, and not by matches or from hot work.

(h) Pressure regulators. Oxygen and fuel gas pressure regulators including their related gauges shall be in proper working order while in use.

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§1915.56   Arc welding and cutting.

The provisions of this section shall apply to ship repairing, shipbuilding and shipbreaking.

(a) Manual electrode holders. (1) Only manual electrode holders which are specifically designed for arc welding and cutting and are of a capacity capable of safely handling the maximum rated current required by the electrodes shall be used.

(2) Any current carrying parts passing through the portion of the holder which the arc welder or cutter grips in his hand, and the outer surfaces of the jaws of the holder, shall be fully insulated against the maximum voltage encountered to ground.

(b) Welding cables and connectors. (1) All arc welding and cutting cables shall be of the completely insulated, flexible type, capable of handling the maximum current requirements of the work in progress, taking into account the duty cycle under which the arc welder or cutter is working.

(2) Only cable free from repair or splices for a minimum distance of ten (10) feet from the cable end to which the electrode holder is connected shall be used, except that cables with standard insulated connectors or with splices whose insulating quality is equal to that of the cable are permitted.

(3) When it becomes necessary to connect or splice lengths of cable one to another, substantial insulated connectors of a capacity at least equivalent to that of the cable shall be used. If connections are effected by means of cable lugs, they shall be securely fastened together to give good electrical contact, and the exposed metal parts of the lugs shall be completely insulated.

(4) Cables in poor repair shall not be used. When a cable other than the cable lead referred to in paragraph (b)(2) of this section becomes worn to the extent of exposing bare conductors, the portion thus exposed shall be protected by means of rubber and friction tapes or other equivalent insulation.

(c) Ground returns and machine grounding. (1) A ground return cable shall have a safe current carrying capacity equal to or exceeding the specified maximum output capacity of the arc welding or cutting unit which it services. When a single ground return cable services more than one unit, its safe current carrying capacity shall equal or exceed the total specified maximum output capacities of all the units which it services.

(2) Structures or pipe lines, except pipe lines containing gases of flammable liquids or conduits containing electrical circuits, may be used as part of the ground return circuit, provided that the pipe or structure has a current carrying capacity equal to that required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(3) When a structure or pipe line is employed as a ground return circuit, it shall be determined that the required electrical contact exists at all joints. The generation of an arc, sparks or heat at any point shall cause rejection of the structure as a ground circuit.

(4) When a structure or pipe line is continuously employed as a ground return circuit, all joints shall be bonded, and periodic inspections shall be conducted to ensure that no condition of electrolysis or fire hazard exists by virtue of such use.

(5) The frames of all arc welding and cutting machines shall be grounded either through a third wire in the cable containing the circuit conductor or through a separate wire which is grounded at the source of the current. Grounding circuits, other than by means of the vessel's structure, shall be checked to ensure that the circuit between the ground and the grounded power conductor has resistance low enough to permit sufficient current to flow to cause the fuse or circuit breaker to interrupt the current.

(6) All ground connections shall be inspected to ensure that they are mechanically strong and electrically adequate for the required current.

(d) Operating instructions. Employers shall instruct employees in the safe means of arc welding and cutting as follows:

(1) When electrode holders are to be left unattended, the electrodes shall be removed and the holders shall be so placed or protected that they cannot make electrical contact with employees or conducting objects.

(2) Hot electrode holders shall not be dipped in water, since to do so may expose the arc welder or cutter to electric shock.

(3) When the arc welder or cutter has occasion to leave his work or to stop work for any appreciable length of time, or when the arc welding or cutting machine is to be moved, the power supply switch to the equipment shall be opened.

(4) Any faulty or defective equipment shall be reported to the supervisor.

(e) Shielding. Whenever practicable, all arc welding and cutting operations shall be shielded by noncombustible or flame-proof screens which will protect employees and other persons working in the vicinity from the direct rays of the arc.

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§1915.57   Uses of fissionable material in ship repairing and shipbuilding.

The provisions of this section apply to ship repairing and shipbuilding only.

(a) In activities involving the use of and exposure to sources of ionizing radiation not only on conventionally powered but also on nuclear powered vessels, the applicable provisions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Standards for Protection Against Radiation (10 CFR part 20), relating to protection against occupational radiation exposure, shall apply.

(b) Any activity which involves the use of radiocative material, whether or not under license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, shall be performed by competent persons specially trained in the proper and safe operation of such equipment. In the case of materials used under Commission license, only persons actually licensed, or competent persons under direction and supervision of the licensee, shall perform such work.

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