By: Yeap Beow Hong
1. Electric shock
Electric shock is one of the most serious and immediate risks facing a welder. It can lead to severe injury or death, either from the shock itself or from a fall caused by the reaction to a shock.
2. Fumes and gases
Welding fumes and gases can be hazardous to your health. Welding fume contains potentially harmful complex metal oxide compounds from consumables, base metal and the base-metal coatings, so it’s important to keep your head out of the fumes and use enough ventilation and/or exhaust to control your exposure to substances in the fume.
3. Fire and explosions
The welding arc creates extreme temperatures, and may pose a significant fire and explosions hazard if safe practices are not followed. While the welding arc may reach temperatures of 5,500 degrees Celsius, the real danger is not from the arc itself, but rather the intense heat near the arc and the heat, sparks and spatter created by the arc. This spatter can reach up to 10 meter away from the welding space.
To prevent fires, before beginning to weld, inspect the work area for any flammable materials and remove them from the area. Flammable materials are comprised of three categories: liquid, such as gasoline, oil and paint; solid, such as wood, cardboard and paper; gas, including acetylene, propane and hydrogen.
4. Injuries from insufficient PPE
Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps keep welding operators free from injury, such as burns – the most common welding injury – and exposure to arc rays. The right PPE allows for freedom of movement while still providing adequate protection from welding hazards.
5. Other safety considerations
- Always use dry gloves
- Always wear rubber soled shoes
- Always use insulating layers
- Protect yourself from surface that conduct electricity
- When working on electrically powered machinery, make sure the frame is grounded
- Keep insulation on all welding equipment & components dry & in good condition
- Don’t change electrode with bare hand, wet gloves or while standing on wet surfaces.