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Ohio State University Extension


Arc Welding Safety

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To be able to weld using safe practices and to know what personal protective equipment should be used.

Trainer's Note

It is important to weld using safety precautions. There are many dangers related to welding. During the training session, have personal protective equipment available to show and for employees to try on. Review the true or false quiz.


Arc welding is a general term that can include shielded metal-arc and gas shielded welding. Since arc welding equipment varies in size and type, it is important to read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

General Arc Welding Safety

Before starting any arc welding operation, a complete inspection of the welder should be made.

  • Read all warning labels and instruction manuals.
  • Remove all potential fire hazards from the welding area.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher ready for immediate use.
  • Equip welding machines with power disconnect switches that can be shut off quickly.
  • The power to the machine should be disconnected before making repairs.
  • Proper grounding of welding machines is essential.
  • Electrode holders should not be used if they have loose cable connections, defective jaws, or poor insulation.
  • An arc should not be struck if someone without proper eye protection is nearby.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Infrared radiation is a cause of retinal burning and cataracts. Protect your eyes and face with a welding helmet properly fitted and with the proper grade of filter plate.
  • Wear approved safety glasses under a welding helmet.
  • Protect your body from welding spatter and arc flash with protective clothing. Such as:
    • Woolen or heavy cotton clothing
    • Flame-proof apron or welding jacket
    • Welding Gloves
    • Properly fitted clothing that is not frayed or worn.
    • Shirts should have long sleeves.
    • Pants should be straight-legged and covering shoes when arc welding.
    • Fire resistant cap or shoulder covers are needed for overhead work.
  • Check protective clothing equipment before each use to make sure it is in good condition.
  • Keep clothes free of grease and oil.

Proper Ventilation

Be sure there is adequate ventilation available when welding in confined areas or where there are barriers to air movement. Natural drafts, fans, and positioning of the head can help keep fumes away from the welder's face.

Ventilation is sufficient if:

  • The room or welding area contains at least 10,000 cubic feet for each welder.
  • The ceiling height is not less than 16 feet.
  • Cross ventilation is not blocked by partitions, equipment, or other structural barriers.
  • Welding is not done in a confined space.

**If these space requirements are not met then the area needs to be equipped with mechanical ventilating equipment that exhausts at least 2000 cfm of air for each welder, except where local exhaust hoods or booths, or air-line respirators are used.

Avoiding Electrical Shock

Electrical shock can kill. To prevent electrical shock:

  • Use well-insulated electrode holders and cables.
  • Make sure welding cables are dry and free of grease and oil.
  • Keep welding cables away from power supply cables.
  • Wear dry, hole-free gloves.
  • Clothing should also be dry.
  • Insulate the welder from the ground by using dry insulation, such as a rubber mat or dry wood.
  • Ground frames of welding units.
  • Never change electrodes with bare hands or wet gloves.

Review the Following Points

  • Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is important.
  • Electrical shock can be deadly.
  • If ventilation is not sufficient, then the welding area should be equipped with mechanical ventilating equipment.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher ready for immediate use.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key 

  1. T
  2. T
  3. F
  4. F
  5. T

Quiz: Arc Welding Safety



True or False?

1. All potential fire hazards should be removed from the welding area.   F
2. Use natural drafts or fans to keep the fumes away from your face.   F
3. Eye protection is not always needed.   F
4. It is acceptable to use electrode holders with loose cable connections.    F
5. Electrodes should not be changed with bare hands or wet gloves.  F





Originally posted May 16, 2019.