Beginners and seasoned welders alike face several health risks when working, including burns, radiation exposure, and lung damage, to name some. This is because of their exposure to electricity, gasses, and heat in the workplace, which may seem harmless at first, but can cause irreparable health damages later.
Secure your health as you enjoy your craft by knowing the risks welding poses and how you can protect yourself from suffering them. First, let us take a closer look at welding eye burn and the different health risks welders like your face. We'll also discuss how to protect yourself from these dangers.
Welder's Eye Burn and Different Health Risks
Whether you weld as a hobby or as work, knowing the health risks allows you to be extra careful. You'll see your work as something that brings you joy but also something you should do with caution and protection. Here are some of the health risks of welding.
Damage to the Senses
When arc, TIG, or MIG welding, the eyes, ears, nose, and skin are exposed to electricity, gas, and UV light. Some common eye injuries welders suffer are dry eye, ocular melanoma/cancer of the eye and arc eye/welding eye burn/flash burn or damaged cornea. Inability to notice the red flags may lead to blurred vision, vision changes, and even vision loss.
The ears suffer, too, especially with the loud grinding and cutting noise machines produce. Metal spatters and workplace heat can harm the skin. The welding fumes suspended in the air can also harm the nose and throat without the proper protective equipment.
Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and other gasses fill the workplace air that can enter the nose and bring illness to the lungs. These respiratory illnesses often occur in welders:
- Throat and bronchial irritation
- Acute asthma induced by chemical irritants
- Occupational pneumonia
- Acute pneumonia
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Welder's lung
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary infections
And the list goes on! So it would be best to have a checkup if you experience shortness and difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing.
Neurological Ill Effects
Even the brain can be affected by the chemicals present in the workplace and bring about neurological damages like Parkinson's disease and encephalopathy.
Parkinson's disease has symptoms like uncontrollable movements and stiffness of the muscles. A person may also have a hard time having physical balance and coordination.
Meanwhile, encephalopathy is a generic term for brain damage. While it has many causes, exposure to welding chemicals is one of them.
Digestive System Issues
Even the digestive system is affected when a welder inhales harmful welding fumes. If you experience constant vomiting, nausea, indigestion, and feeling of fullness, you may be suffering from chronic gastritis of the swelling of the stomach lining.
The stomach can be inflamed and have gastroduodenitis, and welders can suffer small intestine and stomach ulcers too. So, any digestive tract issues are red flags.
Reproductive Health Risks
Various chemicals present in welding materials can cause harm to the reproductive system when inhaled. Boron can cause testicular atrophy, lowering sperm count and testosterone levels.
Meanwhile, chromium and cadmium affect the movement and concentration of spermatozoids and lower testosterone levels.
Chromium isn't only notorious for causing infertility to welders and is the main reason welders suffer from kidney diseases and cancer. Exposure to cadmium from fumes also brings about renal tubular dysfunction.
These two chemicals are the main causes of kidney illness, but with other substances on fumes, the ill effects could even be worse.
Wellness in Focus: Staying Healthy Amid the Hustle
The plenty of risks welding brings may sound daunting. Nevertheless, note that the risks only occur due to irresponsibility in the workplace and lack of knowledge of these risks.
Hence, awareness of the dangers and the proper way to drive them off will help greatly. Here are the ways to stay safe and healthy amid the welding hustle.
If you work in a welding company or run one, know that occupational safety is the employer's responsibility. To do so, employers should prioritize creating well-planned ventilation for the work area to keep welding fumes and gasses out of the workplace as much as possible.
The provision of proper welding attires that protect welders is also their responsibility. Employers are also to check that all tools they have in the workplace are in optimum condition to avoid any accidents.
As a welder, you should always put your safety first. If you work in a welding company, complying with the safety rules and standards is the first way to do so. You will be required to perform a workplace and tools regularly check, so do this task with diligence.
This ensures everything around you, especially the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) you wear, is in excellent condition.
Quality PPEs and RPEs
Here are all the PPEs and RPEs that ensure eye protection, safety from chemical fumes, and workplace accidents.
- Welding safety glasses
- Face shield
- Welding helmet
- Welding goggles
- Hand shield
- Welding respirators
- Flame and heat resistant shirt and jeans
- Welding boots and gloves
- Ear muffs and plugs
Invest in quality PPEs and RPEs as they will save you from spending money on welding eye burn treatment, welding eye burn relief, and other treatments for welder health issues. PPEs and RPEs will serve as your shield to avoid any of the risks above.
Prevention is always better than cure. So, to know if you are healthy or if there are red flags you need to address, go on regular checkups. Some companies have annual health checkups, so make the most of it. You can also visit health clinics independently.
Some essential procedures you should have are chest and lung x-rays to check your heart and lungs. Doctors may also issue blood tests to check if the kidney and other organs of the body are healthy.
Prioritize Your Wellness
Welding is a beautiful craft, so many are still driven to try it despite the risks. Just make sure to be aware of the work's risks for welders like you. There are many different types and degrees of risk, and you need to be aware of them and take steps to protect yourself. Remember that employers are responsible for providing their employees with quality safety gear and information about how to stay healthy while welding. Welders also need to be proactive in taking care of their health by getting regular checkups, wearing proper protective gear, and being mindful of the dangers of welding.
If you need more information about welding risks and safety, PPEs, and which machines are the best. Feel free to explore our website! We have more informative articles for you!