7 Welding Hazards to Watch Out For
Welding is a joining process that melds materials (thermoplastics and metals) together by using high concentrations of heat to bring the materials to the melting point. Once at the melting point, they are joined and cooled, which is a process called fusion. Usually, in addition to the base metal, a filler will be added into the joint to create a weld pool (a pool of molten material) that when cooled forms a stronger joint and can be stronger than the parent metal itself. A shield is often required to circumvent the filler metal oxidizing or becoming contaminated.
Welding uses only high-temperatures and is different from lower-temperature joining techniques, for example, soldering and brazing, both of which do not melt the base metal. Pressure can be used in addition to heat or even on its own to create a strong weld. There are many sources of energy for welding, from a simple gas flame to an electric arc, friction, an electron beam, ultrasound, and even a laser. It is because of these energy sources that welding can be very dangerous, especially when undertaken without precautions. Some injuries that can occur as a result of welding are electrical shock, electrocution, burns, damage to your eyes, and inhalation of noxious fumes.
With the necessary precautions, however, all of this can be avoided. This page will tell you about seven welding hazards that you absolutely must watch out for the next time that you are considering welding.
When in Doubt…
Before moving onto the main body of text, it is important to add this in. If you are not confident about a welding job you are set to do, it is best that you hire the professionals to do it for you. Welding can be very dangerous and is not the sort of thing that anybody can just get started in, at least without any research or studying that is. The expert welders of alamocitycustomwelding.com say that you should go to a company that gets it done right the first time. Attempting to weld something on your own without experience can not only be hazardous, but it can also compromise and potentially damage the object that you are trying to weld.
1. Electric Shock
Electric shock is the most-deadly risk facing a welder. Electric shock can result in severe, lifelong injuries, or even death, either from the shock itself or by a fall caused by the shock as a reaction. A welder can experience an electric shock when touching two metals together that have a voltage between them. By doing these metals, the welder completes the electrical circuit.
When welding, the most commonly reported electric shocks are secondary voltage shocks from arc welding circuits, which can range between twenty to one-hundred volts. A shock as low as fifty volts can be sufficient enough to kill a welder. When you are welding, or want to become a welder, it is important you are aware of these risks and act as safely as possible when it comes to electrics.
2. Fume Inhalation
Overexposure to fumes and gasses can be potentially life-threatening, and at the very least, require a hospital trip. When you are welding you create a fume that contains metal oxide compounds, which when inhaled, can be very harmful and damaging. You should keep your head back from the fumes, do not inhale them, and have adequate ventilation or exhaust to limit your exposure to the fumes. In most cases, the best option is a ventilation system (a fan or exhaust) to remove fumes and gases as soon as they occur. Fumes can be deadly.
When working with welding equipment, fires are always a potential risk. Welding arcs can create extreme temperatures, with some going up to ten-thousand degrees Fahrenheit. The danger is not the arc, but rather, the intense heat produced and its effect on things around the arc. Sparks and spatter can spread as far as thirty feet away, meaning if there are any flammable or combustible objects, there is the potential for fire. To avoid this, remove anything that may be potentially flammable from your workspace and have clearance on either side to ensure that your welding arc does not set anything aflame.
If you are not wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), you can find yourself being seriously injured. Welding is very dangerous, and not only can the sparks as aforementioned cause fire, but they can cause serious burns and injuries if they were to touch your skin. When welding, it is essential that you wear full PPE and do not weld without it. Your employer will likely not allow you to weld without it, but if you are welding at home, still maintain the same safety precautions that you would if you were at work.
When you are welding, you must ensure that the equipment that you are using is in good condition and has been maintained properly. Using improperly maintained, or poor-quality equipment can be life-threatening. The quality of your weld relies heavily upon the quality of your equipment, as does your safety. If you are working in an environment wherein the welding equipment is of poor quality you must bring this up with your supervisors, lest injury occur. Poor welding equipment can be very unstable. If you notice your equipment is not functioning properly, you must stop what you are doing immediately.
6. Control the Weld
If you are not in control and meticulous about your weld, you risk causing breakage or damage to the object you are welding. You must be in control of your weld, otherwise, you may create an unstable weld that could cause injury or a risk to safety.
There should be absolutely no smoking in your welding area. Many people are careless and do smoke around welding equipment; this is very dangerous and can cause serious injury should any exposed gas lines be in the area. Never smoke near a welding station. Ever.
Now you know seven hazards to watch out for when you are welding. If you are going to try and weld something, be sure to have adequate training and equipment, otherwise, you risk causing serious injury to yourself and those who may be around you.
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