Welding can be a hazardous job if proper safety protocols are not followed. Heat, fumes, dust and impact can all be dangers for welders. The sparks from welding emit a “smoke” that consists of fumes gases and small particles. The heat, light, and sparks themselves pose a threat of burns and eye injuries. Arcs give off ultraviolet light that can cause skin burns. Another one of the main dangers of welding is the use of compressed gas cylinders. There are problems at every turn if the equipment is not kept up, even down to the electrical cords that power the welding tools. We here at McMahan Industrial Services value safety. We have weekly safety meetings and do checks on all equipment between jobs.
Top Welding Injuries:
- Hearing loss
- Skin Laerations
- Eposure to fumes and gases
- Eye Injuries
- UV Exposure
- Radiation Exposure
How to stay safe:
PPP Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is a control that includes things that are worn to minimized exposure to dangers.
Follow OSHA Guidelines for proper safety procedures
OSHA guidelines cover a long list of ways to stay safe with proper protocols.
OSHA Safety Precautions:
OSHA has protection and general precautions for welding, cutting, and brazing. These precautions cover fire safety, areas for safe welding, PPE, and ventilation.
- Inspect your work area and identify the possible fire issues
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and know how to use them
- Fire watches after welding or cutting are required
- Keep combustible materials at least 3 feet away from active cutting and welding or properly stored and shielded
Areas for Safe Welding:
- Unauthorized areas
- Where sprinklers are impaired
- In explosive atmospheres
- Near large amounts of ignitable materials
Eye and Face Protection:
- Hand shield
- Safety glasses
All of the PPE should pass the test for transmission of radiant energy that is set by the American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices. OSHA states “Helmets and hand shields shall be arranged to protect the face, neck, and ears from direct radiant heat from the arc.”. Helmets with filter plates are not intended to protect against slag chips or grinding fragments. Safety glasses must be used to protect against these additional hazards.
According to ISHN ventilation needed is dependent on:
- Volume and configuration of the space where the welding operations occur
- Number and type of operations that are generating contaminants
- Concentrations of specific toxic or flammable contaminants being generated
- Natural air flow rate where operations are taking place
- Location of the welders’ and other workers’ breathing zones in relation to contaminants or sources
If proper ventilation cannot be achieved through natural ventilation mechanical ventilation is needed. This can be done through the local exhaust, local forced air, and general area mechanical air movement.
When welders need to complete work that is at a height they are required to use properly fitting harnesses and fall protection equipment
Safety Up Keep:
All of the above are needed to stay safe but in order for the safety to work, upkeep of protection should be a top priority. Making sure that all fall protection and PPE fits properly and does not have any tears or rips keeps you safe. Before every use, stop and check all leads and cords for any problems or open wires. Always store all flammables and combustibles properly and check the storage areas.