To prevent injury, extreme caution must be exercised whenever one is using all kinds of welding equipment. Whether you’re working at a welding-intensive large manufacturing company, or an independent small fabricator, welding exposes you to the same type of hazards. You can get injured as a result of electric shock, fire, explosions or other harmful agents.
Below are several critical tips towards boosting welding safety at your workplace.
Read the Safety Manual
The operating manual has vital safety tips plus informational procedures meant for maximising the welding machine’s potential. Ensure that everybody operating the machine is conversant with the content of the safety manual. Many manufacturers are even providing safety manuals online in case you lose your copy.
In the majority of countries, there is relevant legislation that covers the safety and health of employees at work, and in the UK the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act is the primary legislation.
Welding Equipment Installation and Checking
Welding equipment installation should only be carried out by those who are suitably qualified for the task staff of ensuring it is suitably connected as per safety guidelines from the maker. All equipment external connections must be tight, clean and checked regularly, or every time a reconnection is being made.
Use Proper Welding Gear
Neither short-sleeved shirts nor shorts belong to the welding area. You should only wear flame-resistant clothing like special coveralls, denim pants or a proper welding jacket. Although gloves are recommended, remember that they are not sufficient for picking up material that is just-welded; use pliers if you want to avoid serious burns.
Strong boots or high-top leather shoes provide best protection for your feet. Avoid wearing cloth or tennis shoes as they can easily smoulder to give a burning sensation.
Always Button Up Your Safety Clothing
A face mask should be your first line of protection, but certainly it shouldn't be the only focus. Any skin that is exposed is susceptible to the damaging and painful effects of infrared and ultraviolet rays.
Additionally, sparks could easily catch in your pant cuffs, open pockets, or down an unbuttoned shirt. These sparks may be smouldering unnoticed while you continue working “under the hood.” Such can cause serious physical harm. Ensure that all exposed skin is covered. Avoid keeping butane lighters and matches in your pockets.
Ensure Free Breathing with Fume Extraction
Fumes and smoke that are emitted during the welding can pose a serious health hazard. When you are welding in spaces that are confined, toxic fumes could accumulate. Use an exhaust hood for removing such dangerous fumes from the work area and make sure that a sufficient amount of clean air is available for breathing.
Some types of welding materials specifically need respirators, so consult the data sheet from the manufacturer, an industrial expert or your welding engineer for proper safety procedures.
Avoid the Light
It will only take a moment’s exposure to the ray of a welding arc for your unprotected eyes to experience the potentially dangerous “arc flash.” This light is a very painful condition that could last for hours after your exposure.
Welding helmets ought to be fitted with an appropriate filter shade that protect your face and eyes. Install barriers or screens where appropriate for protecting others from the dangerous arc flash.
Molten metal during welding can spit a couple of feet from the weld area, and even worse are grinding sparks. Before you start working and particularly as you work, carry out a risk assessment on the area as a little fire could easily be smouldering away at some corner completely unnoticed. Always have a serviced fire extinguisher next to the workshop exit door.
Eliminate the Clutter
In your welding area, clearly mark and label each piece of your equipment. Ensure that everything is in its right place; the welding area should only contain the equipment and tools that are used by welders. Install suitable weld tables rather than use fixed-height tables.
Welding safety at the workplace is much more than merely a standard company program. Besides reducing injuries and accidents, it is proven to boost company productivity.When workplace welding safety becomes an integral part of the corporate culture, your organisation can expect to see reductions in lost-time incidences and thus improved general productivity.