Exhaust system work can be the most dangerous type of work you can do on your car. Always observe the following precautions:
Support the car securely. Not only will you often be working directly under it, but you'll frequently be using a lot of force, (heavy hammer blows, to dislodge rusted parts.) This can cause a car that's improperly supported to shift and possibly fall.
Wear goggles. Exhaust system parts are always rusty. Metal chips can be dislodged, even when you're only turning rusted bolts. Attempting to pry pipes apart with a chisel makes the chips fly even more frequently.
If you're using a cutting torch, keep it a great distance from the fuel tank or lines. Feel the temperature of the fuel pipes on the tank frequently. Even slight heat can expand and/or vaporize fuel, resulting in accumulated vapor, or even a liquid leak, near your torch.
Watch where your hammer blows fall and make sure you hit squarely. You could easily tap a brake or fuel line when you hit an exhaust system part with a glancing blow. Inspect all lines and hoses in the area where you've been working.
Be very careful when working on or near the catalytic converter! External temperatures can reach 1500°F (816°C) and more, causing severe burns. Removal or installation should be performed only on a cold exhaust system.