Welding is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Each year, more than 500,000 construction workers are injured in welding accidents. These accidents can cause severe burns and death. Here’s some important information on welding safety.
The most common welding injuries result from the following:
- Extreme heat and burns
- Fire from sparks, gasoline, flammable materials, and ignited fumes
- Light-headedness caused from exposure to fumes
- Eye injuries
- Inadequate space between workers
Most welding accidents can be avoided by following guidelines and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is important that companies that employ welders, as well as welders themselves, adhere to OSHA standards when it comes to welding, cutting, and brazing activities. Companies that fail to provide the safest possible working conditions for their welders not only risk the health and life of their employees, these companies also face substantial penalties and fines, and open themselves up to lawsuits stemming from accidents or death.
Unfortunately, all the safety regulations in the world cannot protect a worker who refuses to follow these regulations. For example, many welders fail to wear the right amount or type of personal protective equipment (PPE) because they find such equipment uncomfortable or restrictive. The same is true of welding helmets that are required as secondary eye protection to be used with primary protection such as safety glasses or goggles.
Despite the fact that new PPE is lightweight, cool, and non-restrictive, some workers still resist suiting up properly. Other welders believe that if they are doing a “small job” it is unnecessary to suit up properly. This belief can prove fatal, however, as no job is too small for protection.
Welders are particularly susceptible to dangers that are posed when fumes, gases, vapors, and particles are released into the air during the welding process. When welders are working indoors, it is essential that airborne hazards are properly assessed and engineering controls are implemented so that acceptable exposure levels are maintained. These controls include ventilations, fans, or fume extractors.
As a welder, or a company that employs welders, it is essential to understand all of the dangers that come with welding. In almost all cases, ongoing training is necessary to impress upon workers the necessity of taking proper precautions on the job. Employers also will benefit from regular safety inspections to make sure that their facilities and equipment is up-to-date.
Disclaimer: The information and suggestions contained in these safety talks are believed to be reliable. However, the authors of the topics and the owners of this web site accept no legal responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or suggestions contained within these topics. These guidelines do not supercede local, state, or federal regulations and must not be construed as a substitute for, or legal interpretation of, any OSHA regulations.