Welding is the world’s most common method for joining various forms of metals. The metals once joined together either by heat, pressure or both remains strongly fused together, till it is broken by external forces. However, safety has to be a critical consideration for any welding project. If preventive measures are ignored, welders can face a variety of hazards.
Possible Welding Hazards
Welding process involves high heat and pressure; therefore, it has its own risk factors. Some of the hazards are listed below:
- Inhalation of mildly harmful or extremely toxic smoke/fumes/dust
- Eye and deep skin injury
- Mild radiation
Some hazards are elaborated below:
- Many welding tools and equipment are quite heavy; there is a chance of falling on someone’s toes or body parts.
- Welding involves cutting, chipping, burning, melting, etc.; therefore there is a high chance of mildly harmful to toxic fumes/dusts/smoke/fine airborne particles etc., getting into the nose and eyes. There are cases where the intense heat generated to melt the metals has resulted in severe permanent damage.
- Ultraviolet light emitted from the arc welding process may cause “welder’s flash” and may result in severe skin burns.
- Even accidental contact of freshly joined pipe or equipments has caused severe burns as it takes time to cool.
- There is also a danger of electric shock.
- If there is compressed gas filled containers or any form of combustible materials nearby there is a danger of fires or explosions.
Organizations such as the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offer preventive measures/procedures to help control, minimize, or avoid possible welding hazards.
Welders must make sure they follow these below steps before they start their welding projects, some are listed below:
- Thoroughly study and comprehend manufacturer’s instructions and don’t hesitate to clear doubts well ahead.
- They need to carefully and thoroughly assess material safety data sheets.
- Check and fully familiarize with the company’s internal safety measures and practices.
Welders must also make sure that their employers comply with the following important guidelines in the workplace; they must check whether the company (some are listed below):
- Provides emergency care/ Personal protective equipment (PPE), if so completely familiarize with them well ahead
- Has adequate ventilation
- Has distanced the welding area from the combustible materials
- Follows all the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) preventive measures/procedures