Without a doubt, welding is one of the most hazardous jobs worldwide. That's why it takes skill and professional training before you can operate a welding machine. Even professional welders suffer from injuries, whether from accidents, faulty machinery, or human error.
If you're a professional welder, this post is perfect for you. We will talk about the common hazards professional welders face and the tools they need to avoid major injuries.
Your protection should be your first priority when you're a welder. You can't do what you do best when you're injured. So, here's a list of the most common hazards to raise your awareness and help you avoid accidents.
Welding requires intense heat to meld metal pieces together. In addition, the spark emissions from the welding rod are hot. Therefore, you must take care that these materials do not come in contact with your skin. These can cause serious burns that can develop into blistering and permanent scars. The spark emissions can also go into your eyes and cause eye problems.
You must have protection from head to toe when welding. Your best protection against skin burns is wearing personal protective equipment. But not any PPE will do. You need to wear something that can withstand extreme heat. Also, ensure your PPE will not melt or burn when in contact with heat.
Aside from PPE, wearing a helmet can protect your eyes from harmful emissions. If a helmet makes you uncomfortable, goggles are a great alternative.
Welding also involves working with torches to cut and shape metal. Thus, keeping flammable materials away from your workstation is a must for your safety.
If possible, you must have a separate space where you can use your torch. Oils, chemicals, and even oxygen tanks can trigger flammable reactions and explosions. So, make sure to keep away anything flammable before you start working with fire.
Additionally, never work with something you are unfamiliar with, be it metal, gas, or other substances. They may be flammable and cause major accidents.
Some materials create toxic fumes when in contact with heat. When inhaled, these fumes can have negative effects on your overall health.
Before you start welding, know the base metal first. Some metals may even contain radioactive elements. Even touching them without the proper safety gear can be hazardous.
Welders are also at risk of asphyxiation. Working in a very hot place can decrease oxygen levels. And if you have a helmet on, getting enough oxygen will be difficult. If the natural air is very low, asphyxiation can happen quickly.
Remember to take a break once in a while. Take your safety gear off and take deep breaths. It will also help to do your work in an open space where air flows naturally. Installing fans and having windows on-site can also increase the natural airflow.
To generate intense heat, your welding equipment uses electricity. And with electricity involved, welders are also at risk of electrical hazards.
Most electric accidents come from faulty wirings. Some faulty wirings are hard to spot because the entire job site seems hot. But when the outer shell of the machine is metal, it can conduct electricity and shock you.
Make it a habit to check your wirings before you start working. If you're not sure how to repair your wires, ask a professional electrician to do it for you. Additionally, make sure your workstation and equipment are dry because water conducts electricity. Also, never touch metals without insulation gloves.
What's inside your bag can make your work easy and even save your life. You have a dangerous job, so coming to work prepared with a welding bag for your tools and helmet is a must.
Here are some of the essential tools you should have. Ensure to store them in a welding helmet bag to maintain their excellent condition. Storing them in one place also helps you be ready to go when duty calls.
You may have been welding for a long time, but it does not mean you are invulnerable to burns. Thus, it's a must to wear welding gloves.
Welding gloves should be insulated and capable of withstanding intense heat up to 500 degrees. Ensure your gloves also fit your wrist and cover up to your PPE’s arm cuff. That way, you leave no part of your arms exposed.
Another essential tool in your pack is a helmet. Welding helmets should protect your face and eyes from contacting the hot particles welding produces. Furthermore, choose a helmet with auto-darkening features to protect your eyes from bright sparks. Directly staring at these sparks can cause vision problems.
If your PPE is not complete, at least have a jacket to protect your body. Leather jackets have exceptional fire resistance, making them perfect for welding jobs. Plus, they look cool on you! But if you have a bigger budget, get specialized welding jackets.
When you are not welding, you don't have to wear your helmet. You can wear more compact masks if you want to avoid inhaling dirt and small particles. Many beginners don't usually wear them, but in the long run, you will thank yourself for taking care of your lungs.
Smoldering pieces of metal are everywhere on-site, not to mention the live wires. Thus, you should protect even your feet from these hazards.
Wearing regular sneakers is not enough protection. Welding work boots are better because they are insulated and fireproof. They should be slip-resistant to protect you from spilled oil and chemicals. They should also reach six to eight inches above your ankles to ensure no part of your legs is exposed.
Earplugs are not very popular among welders, but they're still an essential piece of safety equipment. They protect your hearing not only from loud noise but also from the small welding particles that can enter your ear.
If you're wearing a full helmet, an earplug should suffice. But if you're only using goggles, we advise that you use nonflammable earmuffs to cover the entire ear.
Welders and construction workers face many work risks and hazards. That is why you must have all the proper safety equipment with you. One unfortunate accident can hinder you from doing your thing ever again.
We hope this guide has made you more aware of your safety needs. If you need a welding bag and other premium welding tools, check out our buying guides and reviews to make an informed purchase.