Welding Safety – The Basics In order to perform the basic arc welding processes safely, welding operators need to know and understand the six major areas of welding safety.
Six Major Welding Safety Topics • - Electric Shock • - Visible light, Infrared and Ultraviolet Radiation • - Burns • - Fumes and Gasses • - Fire • - Explosion
Electric Shock • Be certain that there is a well established path for the flow of electric current (ground clamp). • Never allow your body to complete the electric circuit. • Inspect equipment to ensure it is in good working order. • Ensure all welding equipment is properly installed per code and mfg. instructions. • Avoid welding in a wet or damp environment. • Use common sense.
Visible Light, Infrared and Ultraviolet radiation • Use the proper filter plate for the welding process and amperage level being performed. • Be certain welding helmet is not compromised. • Cover all exposed skin. • Never stare/look at an open arc. • Use flash screens to protect others.
Burns • Wear appropriate clothing and gloves. • Wear leather footwear, preferably steel toe work boots. • Assume all metal in a welding environment is hot and act accordingly. • Avoid torn or tattered garments. • No polyester or nylon garments, ever!
Protect Against Burns Metal will be red-hot after welding. Don’t touch it! Not even with gloves! Use Clamps
Proper Shop Attire for Welders • Long pants and long sleeve shirt made from cotton or flame retardant fabric (at a minimum). • Leather cape/sleeve combination or coat (preferred). • Leather footwear (steel toe boot preferred). • Safety glasses • Leather work gloves • Spark cap for out of position welding
Protective Clothing Hazards: *Sweatshirt Strings *Frayed Pants *Wrong Shoes *Hair
Fumes and Gases • Make certain that the work area is properly ventilated. • Keep your head out of the welding smoke plume. • Do not position yourself between the work and the ventilation source. • Remove all chemical de-greasing residue, paint and grease/oil from metal prior to welding. • Use partial mask or other PPE if you have respiratory problems.
Fire • Remove all flammable material from the immediate work area. • Thoroughly check work area for “hot spots” when welding is completed. • Have fire extinguishers in the work area and know how to use them. • Use a Fire Watch when working in an area with flammable materials that cannot be removed.
Explosion • When welding containers that contained flammable materials, follow established safe working procedures. • Keep paint, solvent and other chemicals out of the work area. • Secure compresses gas cylinders well away from the work area. • When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
In Conclusion: • Working with the common arc welding processes being used in manufacturing can be done in a safe manner if the following steps are taken: • Know and follow safe working practices • Follow equipment manufacturers operating instructions closely • Use good judgment and common sense