Want to know more about welding safety? Read this article to find out about the most common hazards your welders should be on the lookout for as well as what types of personal protective equipment they should be wearing. Use the free, digital welding checklists to optimize your company's safety standards with the Lumiform app!
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An OSHA checklist for a welding hazard assessment ensures worker safety in processes such as welding and brazing. For example, they check the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
The checklists are also useful for conducting on-site inspections of ventilation systems and combustible materials. Learn about the most common welding hazards and how you can effectively minimize certain risks by implementing a welding hazard assessment.
The obsession with bending the elements of nature to human will has been around as long as mankind itself. Welding is one such branch of this obsession and rose to prevalence in the middle ages—that’s over 2,000 years ago! Despite the human fascination with metallurgy, it has always been a dangerous line of work for those who have delved into its practice and exploited its secrets. However, improvements in science and new inventions in the metalworking field have offered welders a false sense of security.
Aluminum alloys need to get to a temperature of at least 800 degrees Fahrenheit just to become malleable, and for steel, the temperatures soar as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But that’s just for forge welding. Arc welding can see temperatures around 15,000 degrees. That’s hot enough to melt bone, let alone any type of metal.
The point is, any industry engaging with extremely hot temperatures is a dangerous line of work, and the risk of injury from welding needs to be assessed with a checklist. One accident or slip of the hand can prove fatal to not only the metalworkers but also those in the vicinity. This article will focus on the common safety hazards and measures pertinent to the field as well as how the use of a checklist can make the world of forging a safer place for those who brave the heat.
Obeying general guidelines is very important when it comes to welding. There are several different conditions that, when combined, can be fatally harmful. Hazardous gasses can escape and the heat of the fire can quickly spiral out of control, possibly leading to an explosion. This creates an increased risk of fire which can all but destroy a welding enterprise and cause property damage to the surrounding area. The following four points comprise the most common safety risks:
A welding risk assessment is a serious matter. Working with welding equipment is dangerous, which is why occupational health and safety measures must be carried out very thoroughly and conscientiously. When implementing the protective measures, the following five steps must be followed:
For occupational health and safety, welding work is a major challenge. Often, individual measures are not enough. A combination of the different preventative measures for welders is therefore very important to avoid hazards. All employees must receive regular training and updated information on improved protective practices.
Every part of the body needs to be protected and covered before a welder sets out to work. It doesn’t matter what type of welding, as all temperatures required to work metal creates an environment too hot for the human body to survive without the aid of adaptive clothing. With that in mind, the following is a list of personal protective gear your employees will need to wear at all times:
A heat-resistant helmet will protect the face, skin, and eyes from the forge’s intense heat. Welding is a messy business with sparks constantly flying around. It would be impossible to play ‘the ground is lava’ and try avoiding all the debris getting kicked up in the process. With a helmet, you don’t have to try and dodge the fireworks. Just let them hit you in the face.
The eye protection will be attached to the helmet as one piece and act as a sort of sunglasses. However, this is a separate bullet point because the eye protection will need to be sufficient enough to protect those soft-tissue organs from flying debris, molten sparks, intense light, and radiation.
You wouldn’t normally think welding is hard on the lungs, but it’s quite the contrary. The heat, if inhaled, would burn the lungs, incinerating the delicate Celica that line the bronchial tube and damage the alveoli that are responsible for oxygen exchange. In addition to that horrendous thought, toxic fumes from the metals can get inhaled. That’s why a welding-grade air purifier is necessary if you want to keep your workers out of the hospital and in your employ.
A flame-retardant glove might be the most important protective device a welder wears since his hands will be coming in the closest contact with fire and heat. These should be put on before the jacket to create a seal around the cuff. It might also be a good idea to get antivibration gloves while you’re at it to protect against hand-arm vibrations syndrome.
Although welding doesn’t usually produce a decibel high enough to cause hearing damage, it would be very unfortunate to have a hot piece of debris or a spark fall directly into the ear canal. Regrettably, the human ear canal leads straight into the eardrum, so anything that gets in there will undoubtedly result in permanent hearing loss. Full ear protection is advisable.
It’s important to take movement into account. Welder’s aren’t going to stay still and sometimes have to crouch, duck, or reach to do their job. For that reason, their clothing should overlap: A long jacket should cover high-waisted pants that cover their boots to the ankle.
For the pants, they should be cuff-free and easily fit over a pair of fire-retardant boots. There should be no exposed skin. Molten metal can get caught in the cuff of the pant and burn right through to the skin. Heat-resistant pants will hold up to high temperatures, but there’s nothing in the warranty that says it will withstand direct contact with temperatures comparable to the surface of the sun.
Worker’s boots should have a high ankle, preferably ones that go past it by a few inches so that the pants and boots overlap. Workers should double-check that their leg movements don’t expose any skin around their ankles. Welding boots should also be equipped with a steel toe and a non-slip, rubber sole in case of falling debris or any live wire they might accidentally come into contact with.
Work absenteeism due to sick or injured employees can be costly. Protect your teammates and yourself by regularly checking compliance with all safety standards via a mobile app. By regularly checking and easily analyzing the data in the Lumiform software, you can avoid safety risks during welding work.
Using a digital checklist, all questions can be clarified step by step and dangers reliably assessed. Checklists minimize the risk of forgetting inspections and overlooking test points. In addition, clean, transparent documentation helps prevent high fines for non-compliance with legal regulations. Safety officers benefit from many more advantages when inspecting fall protection with Lumiform: