7 Welding Safety Tips You Should Keep in Mind

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welding safety tips

Welding safety protocol and compliance are associated with numbers of aspects, including the right equipment, ideal setup, adequate training and skill, wearing safety gears, operation and maintenance, etc. It demands close supervision and monitoring by the management so as to prevent any untoward incidences, particularly accidents and hazards. 

Welding typically exposes operators to burns, UV radiation, harmful fumes and gases, electrocution causing severe injuries, permanent damage of organs, post-accidents trauma, and even death. We can’t stop welding, but we can minimize the susceptibility to accidents and injuries to a great extent if we strictly maintain safety protocol and welding compliance properly. In addition, core safety compliance would certainly contribute to a safer work environment and growing productivity.     

However, I have designed this article outlining injuries and major safety alerts associated with welding to discuss under the caption of welding safety tips you should keep in mind. 

1. Setting up Welding Workshop

It’s strongly recommended to set up your workshop with the proper equipment and proper placement of them.  For doing so, first find an ideal place for a welding workshop, organize your equipment, and properly place each piece of them in the welding area. 

Make sure the welding area is set up with only essential equipment and accessories. Never mess up your welding setup with excessive tools and accessories.

It’s good to prefer a welding table assembled with scissors mechanism, flexible enough to adjust height instead of fixed height table. 

Make sure there is no flammable stuff including papers, explosive items, liquids, etc. in the welding area. 

Non-toxic gases are passive, and they usually exist in the atmosphere. But it’s alarming when the sealed-off area is filled with poisonous gases extricating the fresh air to breathe, causing suffocation and even death. 

Another potential harm is having the valve banged off the cylinder, turning it into rocket potential enough to cause injury, spoiling the entire setup, including structure and equipment.   

Always place the cylinder in an upright or vertical position, not horizontally, secure it with a non- flammable material like metal and clamp it with a fixed object so as to protect it from falling. Securely cap the cylinder to prevent the emission of gas. Make sure your workshop is compliant with fire-extinguisher, first-aid box, emergency exit, all safety gears, trained operators, etc. to minimize the risk of accidents and hazards.  Keep the workshop clean, dry, and sufficiently ventilated. 

2. Wear Proper Gears & Maintain Safety Protocol

Protective against burns, UV radiation, electrocution, inhaling toxic gas and fumes, etc.

Welding characteristically generates heats while on the operation, and this heat exists for several minutes after completing welding. Also, this heat usually remains confined near the welding area. Conductive materials like copper or aluminum usually generate more heats and spread it throughout their own application. This heat is associated with burns unless adequate safety precautions are taken before welding.  

MIG welding steel is very much likely to cause sparks or spatter, while TIG welding is less risky to such hazards unless the rusty or dirty materials are used. 

Ultraviolet rays (UV) and Infrared rays (IR) radiated from the welding arc usually are much brighter and denser than that of the sun causing severe burns to the skin tissues, and its effect is more damaging than the sunburn. 

Chlorinated hydrocarbon has potential to generate phosgene gas, once comes into contact with UV ray, it may lead to serious injury and death. Ventilation won’t help avert toxicity. 

It’s strongly recommended to wear lightweight welding jacket, earplug, full coverage safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, industrial auto-darkening hamlet, leather boot, respirators, etc. while welding to prevent burns, UV radiation, electrocution, inhaling fumes, etc. and the long-term impact including skin cancer, respiratory and lungs infection, cataracts, loss of vision, hearing impairment, amputation, broken limbs and post-accidents trauma.     

Avoid being tended to look at the arc without wearing a full-faced registered mask to protect your face and eyes. Also, cover your exposed skins including cuff, neck properly buttoned while welding takes place.

Make sure the weld curtains are properly placed in the workshop to minimize heats. 

Avoid keeping flammable stuff in your pocket including matches or butane lighters etc. 

3. Gather Quality Equipment

Purchase recommended brand equipment assembled with adequate safety features to reduce the risk of hazards and accidents. 

Routinely inspect all electric properties, other equipment and accessories to ensure they are in order and quite fit to work. If necessary, repair or replace them before further use. Never tend to work with the defective equipment.

4. Electrical Safety

Electrocution

Hazardous work environment would cause accidents and injuries, especially when it deals with electric appliances. An ideal welding workshop should be compliant with Minimum Operating Safety Standard (MOSS). Dump environment, wet clothing, metal flooring or structures, overcrowding etc. could lead to higher risks of electrical hazards and electrocution. 

As we know that live electric circuits are used for various welding works, including creating a molten metal pool. If an operator meets any live electric circuits, welding parts, or electrode circuits by touching metal, he may receive an electric shock leading to electrocution and burns. 

Even falling from height after electric shock would lead to broken limbs and post-accident trauma.  

Safety Tips

Always keep your workplace and machines including the main box, pedal, torch, and plug fully dry and clean. Make sure there is no wet patch on the floor around the weld counter or the machines. 

TIG weld machine may barely cause electrocution. When the pedal is pressed on to launch the arc, a high-frequency, low amplitude arc is discharged from the top of the weld torch. Usually, the arc switches over to a high-amplitude direct current (DC) as soon as the machine senses the grounded metal piece is going to be welded. The machine is not even tend to shift to high-amplitude direct current in extreme cases like if the operator consciously points it towards his body, the electric shock would be very minimal.  

5. Exposure to UV and IR Radiation

Ultraviolet rays (UV) and Infrared rays (IR) radiated from the welding arc usually are much brighter and denser than that of the sun causing severe burns to the skin tissues, and its effect is more damaging than the sun burn. 

Chlorinated hydrocarbon potential to generate phosgene gas, once comes into contact with UV ray, it may lead to serious injury and death. Ventilation won’t help avert toxicity. 

Repeated exposure to arc flashes could possibly lead to developing cataracts and loss of vision. 

Safety Tips

As this radiation is extremely intense and much injurious than sunburn, there is no substitute but wearing proper safety equipment. Wear all safety gears as discussed in the “Safety Gear” head to avoid such risk of organs damage. 

Having a welding setup with appropriate equipment assembled with sufficient safety features would help minimize welding-related injury and hazards.  

6. Exposure to Fumes and Gases

Operators get exposed to harmful fumes and gases whenever welding is undertaken. These harmful fumes and gases contain ozone, nitrogen oxides, chromium, nickel oxides, and carbon monoxides, which can easily infiltrate into the human respiratory system, including lungs. 

Chlorinated hydrocarbon potential to generate phosgene gas, once comes into contact with UV rays, it may lead to serious injury and death. Ventilation won’t help avert toxicity. 

These harmful fumes and gases could cause respiratory infection leading to long-term damage to the lungs, including lung cancer. Some common diseases associated with fumes and gases are pneumonia, occupational asthma, lung cancer, metal fume fever, and throat inflammation, etc. 

Safety Tips

As these injurious gases and fumes are extremely intense, there is no substitute but wearing proper safety equipment. Wear all safety gears as discussed to avoid damage to the respiratory system and long-term occupational diseases. 

Having a welding setup with appropriate equipment assembled with sufficient safety features would help minimize welding-related injury and hazards.  

7. Knowledge Management

It’s extremely vital to read the welder’s operation manual carefully and thoroughly to become fully aware of the dangers and safety alerts. All the operators and assistants should be informed well in advance about all safety issues and Dos and Don’ts to prevent workplace hazards and accidents. 

Authorities should organize training programs and refresher courses to keep the operators updated about minimum safety standards and welding compliance.   

Regular supervision and monitoring should be carried out to ensure things are in place and equipment is in order.

Final Notes

I hope the above discussion on welding safety issues and associated harms would give you a general understanding of the Dos and Don’ts to minimize accidents and maximize productivity in the welding industry.  

You are strongly advised to strictly maintain all safety protocols and train yourself on every aspects of the equipment, good practices to avoid unanticipated accidents and workplace hazards. 

Knowledge management is extremely vital to stay updated about current information and technology in the related field. Always try to get associated with the associations and professionals in the relevant field for your progressive development. If you are DIYer, it’s strongly recommended to work under professionals to be trained on the operation and maintenance of the tools at the beginning. 

I would love to hear from you about your feedback and comments, as usual. Also, it would be nice if you kindly share this article with people around so that we could be able to share our expertise to serve more people through online and offline service packages. 

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