Every profession comes with specific risks, but some are more dangerous than others. One job that is filled with dangers is welding. The location of the job doesn’t have a direct impact on many of the hazards of the job.
Anyone who is welding should ensure that they are following proper safety protocol. Employers of these individuals should ensure that there are guidelines for the workplace and that they have proper equipment. Understanding some common hazards can help to ensure that they are sufficiently addressed.
Repetitive stress injuries
Not only do welders have to deal with the effects of being in unusual positions to get some welds completed, they also have heavy safety equipment to deal with. Traditional welding helmets are often heavier than their auto-darkening helmet. Making sure that welders are using ergonomic positions when possible can also help them to avoid cumulative trauma injuries. If you have one forming, you might notice that discomfort in the impacted area progressively worsens until it can’t be ignored. Getting medical care early in this process can minimize the long-term impacts.
Burns and eye injuries
Wear a welding helmet to protect your eyes from the arc rays. Trying to weld without eye protection is dangerous because arc flash might not appear for hours after the exposure to the rays. Some helmets are auto darkening, which provides enhanced protection for the eyes.
In addition to proper eye protection, welders need to wear proper shoes and clothing. You face the risk of burns from the sparks of welding. Make sure that you have every bit of skin covered, including wearing gloves on your hands.
The welding process causes smoke and fumes. These can pose a risk to workers who are in the vicinity, not only the welders. Any area where welding is occurring should have adequate ventilation that can remove the problematic fumes and air toxins while pulling fresh air into the space. Some welding materials have specific warnings about needing a respirator, so be sure these are being followed.
If you are a welder who is injured at work, seek medical care to learn the extent of damage and to find out your treatment plan. Workers’ compensation benefits for medical care will take the stress off your finances, as can the temporary disability benefits that are possible in some cases.