Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Process: Shipfitting


Overexposure (Welding Fumes): Case History


While working in a confined space, a shipfitter began to cough and feel light-headed. He lifted his welding hood and noticed excessive fumes surrounding him. He was able to get out of the space and into a more open area where co-workers helped him get outdoors. Fortunately, the only immediate result of the overexposure was that he suffered a headache.

open port with ventilation tube
closeup of welder with protective gear, respirator and grey vent tubing

Analysis and Preventive Measures

Following the ventilation tube back through the ship, it was discovered that a splice in the vent tube had failed. As a result, there was not adequate ventilation in the confined space where the employee was working. The shipfitter should inspect the vent before and during work to ensure proper air flow.

It is also important to regularly review correct splicing techniques with crews and to encourage periodic checks of vent line condition in order to help prevent this sort of incident.

Ventilation needs to work properly to protect everybody in a space.

ventilation tube sucking welding fumes with overlay text
closeup of broken end of ventilation tube
poorly taped right angle ventilation tube connection


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