Welding

Welding is a process that can be hazardous to the health and safety of employees and those in close proximity. This guidance provides information about the hazards and risks associated with welding.

Background

Welding is the process of joining materials together, usually metals, by heat or pressure or both. When heated, the metal reaches molten state and may be joined by heat only or with the use of filler materials. The heat is generated through electric currents (arc welding) or gases (gas welding).

Welding is undertaken in many industries including:

  • manufacturing
    • construction
      • agriculture
        • mining
          • automotive
            • arts
              • schools/trades
                • boiler making

                  Welding may be undertaken to manufacture machinery, tools and equipment as well as for construction work, repair and maintenance work.

                  Welding equipment, the welding process, welding material, fillers and gases involved in welding and the welding workspace can all be a source of risk to operators and nearby employees health and safety.

                  Employers have a duty to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

                  Employer duties

                  Employers have a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, you must reduce those risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

                  Under the OHS Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations), employers have specific duties and obligations they need to comply with in workplaces where employees may be exposed to hazardous substances like welding fumes or where a lead process is carried out.

                  Hazards

                  Common hazards associated with welding include:

                  Other hazards

                  Other hazards like excessive noise, exposure to lead, confined spaces and falls can present a risk to employees during the welding process.