Common Welding Safety Hazards to Avoid
Safety is a top concern for all welding projects. When you take the proper safety precautions, arc welding is entirely safe. However, if the necessary safety measures aren’t followed or if they are ignored, you may face many hazards. These can be quite dangerous and include things like exposure to gases and fumes, electric shock, fire, explosion, and more.
To help keep those in the welding profession safe, the ACGIH and OSHA have created safety guidelines to help control and minimize the occurrence of welding hazards. Employers need to make sure all their workers have the opportunity to follow these guidelines during the course of their work:
Follow the internal safety practices set by the company
Review the material safety data sheets
Read and fully understand the instructions from manufacturers for the equipment being used
It is also necessary to learn about some of the most common welding hazards that may occur and how to avoid them. This is what will ensure a safe, efficient, and productive work environment for everyone.
A serious and immediate risk facing welders, electric shock can result in serious injuries and death. This occurs if a welder touches two metal objects with a voltage between them together. When this happens, the welder is putting themselves in the electrical circuit.
Keep in mind, even a shock of just 50 volts or less can seriously injure or kill someone. To avoid this situation, all welders need to wear dry gloves and never touch the metal or electrode parts of the electrode holder with wet clothing or their skin.
Gases and Fumes
Overexposure to any welding fumes or gases can also be hazardous to a welder’s health. These fumes often contain potentially harmful metal oxide compounds from consumables, base metal, and the base metal coatings, which means welders must be protected and have proper ventilation in their work area.
Explosions and Fire
During the welding process, extreme temperatures are present. These pose a significant risk of explosions and fire if you don’t use the right safety practices. Even though the welding arc can reach temperatures of more than 10K degrees Fahrenheit, the real danger is from the heat and sparks that are created by the arc. This spatter may reach as much as 35 feet away from where the welding is being done.
To prevent the possibility of a fire, inspect the work area for any flammable materials. Also, make sure there is proper fire suppression tools and equipment nearby.
Keeping Your Welding Area Safe
As you can see, there are several possible risks and hazards that welders face. While this is true, if the proper safety steps are taken, this is a non-issue. You can prevent all the problems listed here – and others – by hiring the professionals to handle any welding work you need to be done. They will know the proper safety procedures to use to ensure your project is handled properly and safely, regardless of what you need to be done or the complexity of the job.