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Welding Safety Tips
Adhere to these safety guidelines when welding...
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Welding Safety Tips
Regardless of which type of welding you practice, an overview of and adherence to welding safety standards is imperative. Obviously, when working with tools that create flames, lasers, or open electric arcs, serious injuries can be inevitable without taking the proper precautions to prevent them from happening. Simply preparing your workspace with the proper equipment and safety precautions can set you up for success! Here are ten occupational safety hazards (of many) associated with welding, and some measures you can take to stay safe:
Smoke that contains toxic gases as well as other dangerous particulate matter is created by certain types of welding, and can eventually cause asthma, poisoning, or lung cancer. Always ensure your workspace has adequate ventilation and/or extraction, and wear a respirator if necessary.
Heat and sparks caused by welding procedures can cause combustible materials and substances to set aflame. They can also burn your skin and cause permanent damage to your eyes. Wear the proper flame-resistant personal protective equipment, and ensure fire-fighting equipment is always accessible.
When arc welding with an open circuit, electric shock can occur when two metal objects with high voltage between them touch. Electric shock can cause one to experience muscle paralysis, spasms, burns, or even death. To avoid this from happening, inspect all equipment beforehand to ensure it’s in good working order. Also, never touch the metal parts of the electrode holder, or the electrode itself, with bare skin, and do not touch “hot” metal parts inside the welder case either.
A condition called “arc eye” can occur when ultraviolet light generated during the welding process inflames the corneas and burns the retinas of the operator’s eyes. To protect your vision, wear welding goggles and helmets with faceplates that are dark enough. If bystanders are nearby, protect their vision by using transparent curtains made of polyvinyl chloride to shield them from the UV light generated during arc welding.
High Frequency Alternating Current Component
Particular welding machines that use this have been known to interfere with pacemaker operation. If you’ve been fitted with a pacemaker, keep a safe distance from such machines.
Sparks and heat generated by the welding process can cause flammable or compressed gases to explode, especially in confined areas where gases can accumulate. Test for the presence of such gases before operating welding equipment.
Damaged, outdated equipment in need of repair, maintenance, or replacement can cause myriad injuries to the welding operator and bystanders. Check equipment before each use to ensure it’s in good repair.
Clutter and Debris
Like any workplace, clutter and debris on the workspace floor can cause you to trip and fall. Keep your workspace clear, clean, neat, and safe.
Sharp objects are part of a welder’s working environment. If not cautious, you can be cut or stabbed by these hazards. Again, make sure you wear the proper personal safety equipment and always be aware of your surroundings.
The most dangerous welding hazard of all is ignorance. Treating welding like a fun hobby instead of a serious trade, can cause you to be injured, or worse. Do not attempt to weld without learning and applying every, and all safety precautions first.
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Injuries sustained from most of the above hazards require immediate medical attention. However, welding-related injuries are completely preventable. Educate yourself about proper welding procedures to ensure you maintain a safe working environment while practicing your trade. As the old adage coined by Benjamin Franklin goes, “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”!