Staying safe during welding duties!

No single task touches on so many facets of safety as welding. Impact, penetration, harmful dust, smoke, fumes, heat and injurious light radiation are all potential hazards associated with welding. Welding “smoke” is a mixture of very fine particles (fumes) and gases.

Depending upon what is being welded, many of the substances in the smoke can be extremely toxic. The intense heat of welding and sparks can cause burns. Eye injuries have resulted from contact with hot slag and metal chips. The intense light associated with welding can cause eye damage. Ultraviolet light from an arc can cause “welder’s flash” and skin burns. There is also a danger of electric shock. If combustible or flammable materials are nearby, the heat and sparks produced by welding can cause fires or explosions. The use of compressed gas cylinders poses some unique hazards to the welder as well.

Aside from ensuring the proper PPE is worn and there's proper ventilation, here are some other quick tips to remember: -

- A responsible individual must inspect the area and identify precautions to be taken
- Fire extinguishers must be ready for immediate use
- A fire watch lasting at least 30 minutes after the welding or cutting operations is required if more than a minor fire might develop
- All combustibles must be moved 35 feet away or properly protected or shielded