Indeed, welding is a process associated with several hazards at a time. Like firefighters, doctors, and constructors need specific safety gear to work safely, welders also require proper training and safety equipment to minimize the risk of serious injuries. It is a demanding workplace activity that puts thousands of employees in danger every year in the United States only. This blog is all about the importance of taking safety precautions with a welder and the types of hazards that employees face while welding.
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Types of most common welding hazards
Welding can cause injury due to contact, penetration, hazardous dust, smoke, gases, heat, and damaging light radiation. Welding smoke is a combination of very small particles of fumes and gases. Many of the compounds in the smoke might be quite dangerous depending on what is being fused. Welding’s high heat and sparks can cause burns. Contact with hot slag and metal chips can result in eye damage.
Hazardous Electric shocks
Live electrical circuits are used to create a pool of molten metal during the arc welding process. As a result, you risk the chance of getting an electric shock while welding. Electric shocks can cause serious injuries and even deaths. If you touch a part of the welding or electrode circuit at the same time as touching the metal you’re welding, you risk receiving a secondary electric shock. Conditions in which you are at serious risk of facing an electrical shock include:
- Welding in a moist environment.
- While dressed up in damp clothing.
- Welding while being on metal buildings or flooring.
- When you have to lay, kneel, or bend in an enclosed space.
Noise hazards and burns
There’s a high possibility of exposure to continuous loud noises while welding. The processes like flame cutting and spark scrapping can produce noise levels exceeding 100 dB, which is considered a very loud noise. This can be extremely harmful to the ears, resulting in immediate hearing loss. UV radiations, welding flames, hazardous gases, and molten metal can cause severe burns to your skin. They can cause serious damage in seconds. All such hazards occur when welders skip or do not prioritize safety precautions.
Safety precautions to consider while welding
If safety precautions are not taken properly, welding can be a risky activity. Safety should always come first when employees are charged with welding, regardless of the task. Welding demands proper training and awareness of safety precautions. Below mentioned precautions should also apply when using sheet metal bender, bending machine, plate rolling machine and other heavy machines.
Use proper protective gear
Welders require protective gloves, eyewear, helmets, and respiratory gear in order to avoid injury. Workers should also be well-versed in hazards and how to operate the equipment. To guarantee that equipment is safe to use, it must be thoroughly checked and maintained on a regular basis. For visibility and protection of the eyes and skin from x-rays, it is recommended to start with a darker lens and gradually move to a lighter lens. Industrial grade helmets have now adjustable shade modes and sensitivity controls. Newer helmets include many modes, allowing them to be used for welding, cutting, and grinding all at the same time. The most recent advancement is an electromagnetically sensed flame mode that provides full protection when the sensors are distorted. To guard against burns, the gloves should be flame resistant.
Wear appropriate equipment
Shorts and short-sleeved shirts have no place in a welding chamber. Even a rapid tack weld demands appropriate gear. Only wear flame-resistant clothes, such as denim leggings and woven shirts. Welding jackets are soon becoming outdated as an excuse for being overly heavy, hot, restrictive, or unwieldy. Lightweight clothing made of flame-resistant cotton or a combination of it with pigskin is now available, providing better protection and increased mobility.
They now come with pleasantly curved fingers and a variety of designs specifically for different welding procedures. It’s important to note that gloves are insufficient for picking up freshly welded material. We recommend the use of pliers to avoid burning. The legs of the pants should cover the toes of the shoes. Wearing tennis or fabric shoes is not recommended. The first sign that you disobeyed the rule could be a burning sensation in your shoes as they heat up.
Health and environment safety precautions
Welding can cause an excess fire if operated near other gases. A fire alarm, as well as fire extinguishers, must be located near the welding area. Check the gauge on fire extinguishers to make sure they’re full. Standard processes should be in place to provide immediate assistance to persons who find themselves in risky conditions. Health safety should be considered the topmost priority which refers to having a properly filled first aid kit on hand to treat any injuries on the spot. Welding should only be done in a clean, clutter-free environment where there is no risk of fire. Flammable materials should be removed from construction sites. Welding must take place in a dry environment.