Welders are generally well-versed in the face shields, ear plugs, respirators and protective clothing required by 29 CFR 1910, but the guards and barricades also required by this standard are often misunderstood and underutilized. OSHA (1910.252(a)(1)(ii) and 1910.335(b)(2)) recommends them, as does AWS/ANSI Z49.1:2012, so it is important to understand how and when to use these critical pieces of PPE.
The best way to prevent injuries from welding operations is to avoid contact in the first place. This is not always possible on a busy construction site, or when working in areas that must remain accessible. Even in a controlled environment, injuries have been reported from weld flash coming from the side of neighboring welders. PPE barriers are an easy and effective way to protect others by keeping them at a safe distance.