There are many types of welding that are having different risks associated with them. Here we shall mention the risks associated with electric arc welding. Welding is safe profession if necessary protective measures are taken to safeguard the welder from potential hazards.
If necessary control measures are not taken following dangers are there for a welder:
Electric Shock Risk During Welding
A situation can be electrically hazardous if you are working in damp atmosphere/locations, your clothing is wet, you are working on metallic/conducive platforms/surfaces i.e. aluminium scaffolds, gratings and floors. Similarly if you are working in cramped positions i.e. laying, sitting or kneeling the risk of your contact with the work piece increases.
Try to protect your body from touching the welding metal and always try to use a rubber mat or wooden board for standing or lying during welding works. Never try ti rest your arms, or other body parts on the work piece i.e. the metal being welded. Always keep your welding machine healthy and if any problem observed inform your supervisor and don’t use until it is checked by competent person. Use mandatory PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect yourself from any hazard involved.
Fire and Explosion Welding Risk
The hazard of fire and explosion is always there during the welding process if a flammable material is present near the welding area. Therefor the welders must ensure that flammable substances that could ignite or explode are not present nearby. Normally the hot work permit is mandatory from safety supervisors that ensures that the area has been checked and is clear for welding without the hazard of fire. Fire extinguishers are provided and welder are trained to use the same.
If you need to work in the area where flammable materials can not be avoided you must use fire blankets to protect the substances from welding sparks. Similarly if flammable material is present within the 35 feet from welding area a watcher must be deployed to monitor the movement of sparks and to respond in case of fire.
Toxic Welding Gases and Fumes
Welding fumes and gases has been reported dangerous if overexposed. The most common fumes are chromium, iron, manganese and nickel etc contributed by both electrodes and base metals. Asthma and lung cancer can cause if overexposed to chromium and nickel. Overexposure to manginess can cause malfunction of central nervous system.
To avoid these harmful effects always follow the safety instructions given with the welding electrodes/accessories. A material safety data sheet is very useful for understanding the hazardous behavior of the material you are using.
In order to keep yourself health always try to keep your breathing away from welding fumes and use proper ventilation at the welding point. If adequate ventilation is not possible then you must use approved respirators. There are always permissible exposure limits defined by regulatory authorities therefore yo must check your what is applicable in your locality, in USA OSHA has defined permissible exposure limit. These values are available as part of MSDS.
Eye Injury during Welding Process
The welding arc produces the radiations i.e. IR (infrared) and UV (ultra violet) that are harmful for your eyes. IR can cause your retinal burning since it is in the form of heat. UV can cause eye burn also known as welder’s flash. Therefore welders must wear a recommended welding helmet with good quality glasses. These are few common risks that are associated with the welding process and can be avoided by taking necessary preventive measures and using proper PPE i.e. helmet, goggles, gloves, ventilators etc.