Walking Safely

“The law is not a ‘light’ for you or any man to see by; the law is not an instrument of any kind. The law is a causeway upon which so long as he keeps to it, a citizen may walk safely.”

— Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas More might just as well have been talking about the gases and welding industry in 2005 when he spoke these words in 1505.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are a small collection of the agencies that have provided the signposts along the causeway of our industry over the last 60 years. The laws and regulations they have set down have guided us, sometimes embroiled us, even confused us. But they have been meant for one thing…to help us to “walk safely.”

The cost of doing business today revolves around these laws and regulations. In this, the first in an ongoing series about some of them, W&GT looks at welding fume litigation, product liability and the limits on using fax machines with your customers.

In our 60-year history, GAWDA has been and will remain at the forefront, pushing for the solutions that protect the livelihood of its members, Distributors and Manufacturers.

A Look Back
1965 •  Standard numbering is introduced.
1967 •  Department of Transportation opens its doors on April 1.
1970 •  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established.
•  President Nixon signs Occupational Safety and Health Act.
•  Environmental Protection Agency established.
1971 •  OSHA standards provide baseline for safety and health    protection in workplaces.
•  DOT revises method for marking cylinders.
1973 •  U.S. Supreme Court endorses FDA action to control entire    classes of    products by regulations.
1976 •  Medical Device Amendments require manufacturers to    register with    FDA and follow quality control procedures.
1978 •  OSHA clarifies 29 CFR 1910.252(a)(l)(iii), stating that use of    replacement tips will not nullify the “approved apparatus”    status of a    torch, under specific conditions.
1982 •  OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1926.451(w) and 1926.451(a)(18)    regarding    welding on float or ship scaffolds are clarified.
1983 •  DOT establishes rules for Handling and Transporting    Cryogenic    Materials.
1986 •  OSHA now requires MSDS for hazardous materials.
1988 •  OSHA publishes “The Use of Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe in Above    Ground    Installations” and describes the hazard when using    PVC pipe for    transporting compressed gases.
1989 •  FDA revises its non-legally bound Compressed Medical    Gases    Guideline.
1992 •  Canada passes Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act to    promote    public safety.
•  National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)    considers welding fumes as potential occupational    carcinogens and    recommends exposure limit.
1994 •  OSHA requires employers to pay for personal protective    equipment.
•  The American Conference of Governmental Industrial    Hygienists    assigns welding fumes a threshold limit value of 5    mg per cubic meter    as a TWA for a normal 8-hour workday    and a 40-hour workweek.
1997 •  Hazard Communication Standard enacted for electronic    transmittal of    MSDS.
1999 •  The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act establishes the    Federal    Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
2000 •  FDA accepts electronic records, electronic signatures and    handwritten    signatures executed to electronic records.
2001 •  Aviation and Transportation Security Act establishes new    Transportation Security Administration to increase security at    airports and other transportation venues.
•  U.S.A. Patriot Act enhances law enforcement investigatory    tools.
2002 •  Title 2 of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism    Preparedness    and Response Act (Bioterrorism Act)  addresses controls on dangerous    biological agents and toxins.
•  Homeland Security Act establishes the Department of    Homeland    Security, which assumes management of the U.S.    Coast Guard and    Transportation Security Administration,    formerly DOT Operating    Administrations.
2004 •  New Hours of Service go into effect.
•  All people who visually requalify cylinders must now be    registered with    DOT.
•  New Medical Examination Form released for CDL drivers.
•  Background check on new drivers requires more detail; DOT    forces    past employers to reply.
2005 •  DOT Incident Reporting Form updated.
•  FMCSA requires safety permits for transport of certain    hazardous    materials.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association