Potential Welding Safety Hazards to Avoid
To leave your weld area in optimal condition, you must be aware of potential welding safety hazards to avoid. This guide will break down some of the most common welding dangers and how you can avoid falling victim to them during your next weld.
Inhaling Toxic Fumes and Gases
Consumable electrodes, base metals, and even the coatings on metals can create fumes in the air that are incredibly dangerous for humans to inhale. How these fumes harm your body depends on the specific materials you’re working with. To make sure you’re taking the right precautions to protect yourself and others in your environment, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure your work area has strong ventilation/exhaust.
- If you notice the excessive accumulation of fumes in your work area, stop welding, leave the area, and improve ventilation (or let a supervisor know about the situation).
- Research the materials you’re welding with and familiarize yourself with their properties and adjust equipment accordingly. TIG welding, for instance, uses a tungsten electrode, which requires you to wear a respirator while welding because of its mild radioactive properties.
Experiencing Electric Shocks
A guide to potential welding safety hazards to avoid would not be complete without mentioning electric shocks. Because of how pertinent live electrical circuits are to the welding process, it can be very easy for a welder to experience an electric shock if they’re not taking the right precautions. The voltage used in welding is high enough to cause major injuries or even death. Here are a few methods for avoiding electric shocks while welding:
- Maintain dry insulation between you and the ground, as well as between you and the metal.
- Inspect the electrode holder and make sure both it and the insulation are intact. Replace the holder or its insulation when necessary.
- Make sure your gloves and all your gear are completely dry and in usable condition.
- Never make physical contact with the electrode (or electrode holder) with exposed skin or wet clothes (especially wet gloves).
Causing a Fire or Explosion
Sparks can emanate from your weld, which poses a major fire hazard. Different welding methods cause different levels of spatter, but the potential for a fire or explosion is always there, depending on the environment around you. Here are some tips for preventing fires and explosions while welding:
- Outfit your work area with the proper safety equipment.
- Make sure equipment like fire extinguishers are full, functional, and ready to use when needed.
- Inspect your work area for any flammable or explosive materials. Once you find them, remove them from the premises.
- If you have flammable or explosive materials in the work area that cannot be moved, use a fire-resistant covering to protect them while you weld.
- After covering immovable fire hazards, have a fire watcher monitor the area during and after your weld to ensure no fires or explosions erupt.
If you’re in need of welding gear, we’re here to help. At Welding for Less, we can help you find high-quality welding equipment for the best prices possible, such as heavy-duty welding reels and much more.