Did you know underwater welding is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, with a 15% mortality rate? This is a terrifying statistic, especially if you’re looking to get into welding. What if you’re not looking to get into underwater welding?
Well, regular welding is also dangerous without proper protection because a staggering 500,000 welders get injured on the job annually. However, this should not discourage you from getting into the profession. If you wear the right protective equipment and observe safety guidelines, you can thrive in the industry.
So, how do you stay safe when welding? In this post, we’ll take you through all the safety guidelines you should follow in order to avoid, minimize, or eliminate risks. Read on to find out how to protect yourself in the welding industry.
Welding Safety 101
Welding safety starts when you understand everything that could go wrong. You’ll be in a better position when you know what to protect yourself against and how to do it. Some of the welding risks and hazards include eye injuries, skin burns, electric shock, and toxic fume inhalation.
To begin with, it’s of utmost importance for you to wear protective clothing in all operations. If you’re driving into arc welding, understand that the electric arc is incredibly powerful. It’s a powerful source of light, including ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light.
It’s vital you wear safety goggles and suitable hand shields. Your helmet should be equipped with filter glass to protect you against the intense infrared and ultraviolet rays. When other people are close by, you should use these welding and safety screens.
They’ll protect them from seeing the arc either directly or as a reflection on glass or metal. Beyond that, keep all MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous welding supplies and materials on hand. These are provided by manufacturers to keep welders informed of potential hazards.
Study and Understand Welding Safety Procedures
Before you get it to welding, it’s imperative that you study and understand all safety procedures. Educate yourself on the guideline set by the national organizations and the company you currently work for. Also, ensure you review manufacturer instructions before you operate any equipment.
Protection From Fumes and Gases
Exposure to fumes and gases can be incredibly dangerous to your health. These gases may cause you problems without realizing it. However, exposure can be controlled with adequate ventilation.
Make sure you have an exhaust system or hood to remove gases and fumes from your working space. Whenever necessary, you should also wear a respirator to protect yourself from inhaling such harmful fumes and gases. If at any point you feel like your breathing is inhibited, you should stop and inform your superiors immediately.
Protection Against Electrocution
Electric shock is one of the most common hazards in the welding field. It poses a serious and immediate risk, and welders need to inspect the electrode holders before welding. It’s of utmost importance that you ensure your gloves are dry and that your skin doesn’t touch the metal parts of the electrode. Avoid touching it if you’re wearing any wet clothes, and make sure there’s insulation between you, the metal you are welding, and the ground.
Always Understand Your Environment
Every time before you start welding, you need to take inventory of your environment. Understand where your equipment and tools are to stay safe and increase efficiency. It’s important for you to know where safety equipment is, including fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency exit, and anything that could help put out a fire.
Always Wear Protective Equipment
The most important thing you can do in the welding industry is to dress for the job. If you expose your skin in any way, it will be vulnerable to the helpful effect of ultraviolet and infrared rays. Be wary of any loose clothing items they could catch flying Sparks, and it said where flame-resistant clothing with proper protective equipment.
Talking about protective equipment, you need to have ear protection, especially if your average noise goes above 85 dB. You need eye and face protection, including safety glasses, welding helmets, and face shields. Additionally, you need to have heat and radiation protection, foot protection, and electrical shock protection.
Avoid Clutter in Your Workplace
A cluttered workplace increases the chances of fires and explosions. Understand that welding sparks can fly as far as 35 feet, and any flammable materials close by will catch fire. Keep your workspace organized at all times and only keep the tools and equipment you use close to your welding space.
Always Enforce Safety Procedures
Once you get into the welding industry, take it upon yourself to enforce safety precautions and procedures. Hold yourself and the others working with you accountable, report safety violations, and speak up whenever you feel unsafe. Beyond that, it’s also vital that you keep learning as technology advances and practices change.
Always Be Prepared
In this industry, accidents are bound to happen, and you need to be ready for them. Some accidents will be unavoidable, and you need to know how to respond to each type accordingly and safely. Your building needs to have an evacuation plan, and you need to know the location of a first aid kit too.
Avoid Stress Injuries
One of the most overlooked aspects of welding is repetitive stress injuries. Over time, you’ll start doing repetitive tasks that will cause you to wear and tear on your body. Your muscles, ligaments, and nerves will take the hit and increase your chances of injuries. To prevent injuries, you should warm up every day before you jump into work.
Welding Safety: Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to welding, safety should always come first. As long as you observe all safety precautions and wear the right safety gear, you should be good to go. There may be no way to completely eliminate the chances of accidents, but you can do your best to prevent them.
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