HSfB Blog

4 common welding hazards and what you need to know

Welding carries with it obvious dangers. You are working with a flaming torch after all! But there are a number of hazards and potential dangers you should be aware of if you are carrying out this kind of work, especially if you are not a trained professional.

welding, welders

Here are 5 potential dangers to keep in mind when welding:

 

1) Fumes

Welding gases and fumes contain noxious metal oxide compounds, which needless to say, are detrimental to your health. Any space where you are welding should be well ventilated, and have exhaust systems to keep dangerous gases and fumes away from your breathing space. There are numerous ventilation systems offered, and suppliers such as R-Tech Welding carry extraction systems which are well worth considering in a professional environment.  

 

 

 

 

2) Inadequate workwear

If welding you should of course wear suitable workwear. The dangers of not having adequate PPE are really quite unnecessary. Non-professional welders may not have the kit that the pros are given by their employers, but if you are going to undertake a dangerous job you need to be fully protected.

 

PPE blog UK Safety Store recently commented on the importance of workwear for welders:

 

“Welding is a risky job so anyone doing this kind of job should be properly kitted out. We recommend flame retardant clothing and gloves to anyone working with fire or flame of any sort.”

 

Helmet, safety glasses and side shields or goggles are also a must, as well as ear muffs or plugs to protect your ears and strong safety boots.

 

3) Electric shock

Perhaps the most significant threat to a welder is that of a serious electric shock. Considerable injury and even death is possible if you don’t take adequate care when working. Serious injury and death can be caused by the shock itself, or from a subsequent fall.

 

But how does this happen? The most common way to be electrocuted when welding is by touching two objects that are carrying an electric current. This puts you right into the circuit - not a place you want to be! Shocks from an arc welding circuit are relatively common and these shocks can carry between 20 to 100 watts. And it’s worth knowing that a shock of even 50 watts has the potential to kill.

 

4) Fire

Given the work undertaken in welding it may hardly be surprising that fire is one of the main dangers. Welding creates extremely high temperatures and without the right safety precautions there is the risk of fire and even explosion.

 

The arc itself can generate 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but the real hazard consists of the sparks from the arc which can travel up to 35 feet away. Before beginning a task you should check your working area and remove any flammable materials, from paper and wood to oil and paint.