Is Welding a Dangerous Job?
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It’s a common question from the entire novice who wants to become a welder. And they are not wrong! Considering all the hazardous processes and equipment that are involved in welding, welding is dangerous. It’s probably more dangerous than any other profession!
Still, more and more people and joining this profession. So many people are involved in small welding tasks as DIY projects. They like to weld the broken garden fences or the broken garage doors. No matter whether you are a professional welder or it’s just one of your hobbies, the danger remains the same.
See more if You are a Beginner Welders
How Dangerous The Welding Is?
There are potentially 5 or 6 dangers associated with welding. I will talk all about them and give you an idea about how to keep yourself safe from these dangers. This article is all about making you informed about the potential dangers, NOT to discourage you.
With the right set of personal protective equipment and proper instruction, welding is pretty safe. Don’t let me intimidate you talking about all those dangers here:
Injuries Due to Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
There are lots of welding gears to protect your full body. From leather welding gloves to welding jacket - all of this personal protective equipment (PPE) protect you from burning and other welding hazards.
Of course, wearing an auto-darkening helmet will protect you from flash burns, but you have to wear safety glasses with side shields as well. These glasses will prevent sparks or welding debris hitting your eyes!
The arc rays will severely damage your eyes unless you wear a high-quality helmet. Scratches, cuts, and burns are common in welding. But you can protect your hands wearing welding gloves. Similarly, wearing a welding jacket will protect your skin from being exposed to such deadly UV rays.
More so, welding may damage your hearing as well unless you are ear protection. It’s getting scary? Wait for more!
The Life-Threatening Electric Shock!
This is the most primary danger that any welding operator may suffer unless they are careful enough. If you touch by accident any two metal objects with your bare hands and there is a voltage between them – you will endure severe electric shock that may lead to your death too.
In arc welding, the most common type of electric shock is the secondary voltage shock that may range up to 200 volts. Any voltage shock that ranges from 50 volts or less may possess intense danger.
The only way to become safe from such deadly electric shock is to wear dry hands gloves. Never touch any electrodes or metal parts with your bare hands. Never wear any wet clothes as well. Make sure to inspect the electrode holder for any sort of damage before you start your welding.
Health Hazard From Fumes & Gases
The danger is real. Overexposure to welding fumes and gas is hazardous to your health. Welding gas and fumes contain detrimental compounds and metal oxide compounds that you will inhale unless there is a good ventilation system in your workplace.
You should be able to breathe clean air and if you notice the air quality is not up to the mark, make sure to check the ventilation system. In most cases, your employer will ensure proper ventilation in the workplace and you have to check it yourself sometimes.
Experts recommend cleaning the base metal even before you begin to weld. There are lots of coatings on base metals like paints, galvanizing, and metal plating. That’s the reason you should clean the base metals to prevent exposure to such hazardous compounds.
Beware of Fire & Explosions
It’s no secret that welding arcs create extreme temperatures (up to 10,000 degrees temperature). Unless proper guidelines and safety protocols are maintained, it may possess a fire and explosion hazard. But probably, the real danger may not be the arc itself.
The real danger is from the sparks and spatters created from the extremely heated arc. The spatter can reach up to 35 feet! So, what to do to stay safe from these dangers?
Well, for starters, inspect the work area for flammable materials and remove them if you find any. You should be specifically looking for liquid flammable objects like paint, oil, and gasoline. Also, look for wood materials like cardboard and papers. Remove any propane, acetylene, and hydrogen if you find them nearby your workplace.
Get a clear understanding of the locations of fire extinguishers and fire alarms, sand buckets, and so on. In the worst-case scenario when the fire accident happens, don’t panic. Call the fire department immediately.
So, welding is pretty dangerous, right? I said so at the beginning of this article. However, as I said above, don’t let these dangers prevent you from entering into this lucrative profession. As long as you follow the safety protocols, welding is as safe as any profession out there.