Welding Safety: Reminders For Minimizing Risk
Welding can be a rewarding and potentially lucrative career for highly skilled laborers, but it is also one of the highest-risk occupations around. Without best safety practices and properly functioning welding equipment, workers can be hurt by hazards ranging from electrical shock and burns to loss of vision and brain damage.
To minimize these risks, it is imperative to invest in proper welding safety training for yourself and your welding team, to wear all appropriate welding safety gear, and to engage in OSHA best welding safety practices throughout your worksite.
Here are some general reminders for welding safety; for a complete discussion of welding safety practices and standards, visit the OSHA website.
Quick Welding Risk Assessment List
- Read (and re-read) operating manuals – Today’s sophisticated and powerful welding machines can be extremely dangerous if it is not used properly; make sure to read your operating manuals thoroughly before you operate any machinery.
- Wear the right gear – Proper clothing and welding gear must be worn at all times. Make sure clothing is flame-resistant and made from tightly woven material. Wear a welding jacket gloves designed for the type of work you’re performing, and wear leather, high-top, steel toe shoes.
- Cover up – Burns from welding are very painful and can cause serious damage; keep your skin covered at all times.
- Protect your eyes and ears – If you’ve ever had welder’s flash or arc flash, you know just how painful it can be; the right equipment can help prevent it. The welding helmet should have a proper filter shade, as well as the appropriate safety glasses that also have side shields. Ear protection should also be worn.
- Work neatly – All welding equipment should be labeled and have its place on a welding site. Keep your space clear to work by removing all unnecessary clutter and tripping hazards, and be sure to remove anything flammable.
- Ventillate – Smoke and fumes from welding can cause serious short- and long-term health problems. Make sure your workspace is properly vented and that respirators are available if needed.
- Stop the shock – Electric shock can be deadly. Wear dry gloves that are in good condition, and inspect all equipment for electrical safety before using it.
- Keep safety top of mind – Make sure all fire alarms and fire extinguishers are tested, easily visible, and accessible. Provide and attend all necessary safety training to make sure your safety standards are understood and upheld, and address any needed welding machine repairs promptly.
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