Welding Health and Safety Guidelines

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Welding is a very old practice, its origins being traced down to thousands of years ago. Despite the fact that modern society has advanced greatly, welding continues to be an important industrial activity, which is best performed by people, and not machines. Moreover, despite industrial advancements, welding continues to be a dangerous activity. Nevertheless, by following some strict safety guidelines, welding accidents can be avoided. In what follows, we will discuss some simple prevention methods, that can help you avoid welding accidents.

Work in a designated welding area

A designated welding area is an area which has been previously inspected by a responsible person. This area should be nowhere near an explosive atmosphere, and there should be no ignitable materials nearby. Ideally, it should feature sprinklers or at least several fire extinguishers. Overall, the whole area should meet the highest flammability standards. You should not work in a building that is under constructions, especially if the building has been recently insulated. A lot of the fire retardants used in the insulation industry provide questionable fire safety protection. Last but not least, this area should be properly ventilated as welding gases and fumes can be very dangerous for one’s health.

Always wear face protection and proper clothing

Any type of welding activity, be it gas welding, arc welding or oxygen and art cutting, should only be performed wearing special equipment. Since the risk of a fire is always present, welding requires fire resistant clothing, as well as face and eye protection. Make sure to invest in quality welding clothing that comes from a trustworthy brand. Your equipment should include a face shield, close-toed shoes, a long-sleeved and non-ignitable shirt, welding gloves and ear protections.

Be careful when cleaning welding materials and the nearby area

The nearby area and the welding materials, should only be cleaned with non-ignitable cleaners. Inform yourself about potentially hazardous cleaners and make sure to avoid them. Never work around anything that has been cleaned with chlorinated hydrocarbon. This substance is commonly found in brake-cleaners, and it can be very dangerous, as it emits a phosgene gas when it is combined with UV light.

Avoid electrocution and burns

Make sure that the welding machine, the floor and the bench are dry. Your gloves should also be dry. As far as burns go, you should be safe as long as you don’t directly expose your body or your eyes to the light emitted by the weld arc. In order to protect the people around you, invest in some quality weld curtains.