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Welding Health and Safety Guide

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by Danny Rodgers
(Chicago, USA)

Photo No1 – Courtesy of Pat MacConahay
Photo No2 – Courtesy of PhotoDudes
Welding can be an extremely dangerous task. Each and every year hundreds of people, both amateurs and seasoned professionals, suffer injuries while welding. Staying accident-free is the most important thing when welding, because a simple mistake can lead to unfortunate consequences.

If you are new to welding, or yet to weld, then this guide could be particularly helpful to you. However, even if you regularly weld or weld as a profession, it is still certainly worth having a read through as a refresher.

Wear the Correct Gear

When welding, you are dealing with plenty of sparks, flames and hot metals; therefore, what you wear can be the difference between a serious accident and a successful job. Never think you can get away without the necessary clothing, however short or simple the task at hand may be.

Your face is going to be up close to the danger zone, and for this reason you should always wear the following: a flameproof cap or hat, an eye safety shield and, most importantly, a handheld helmet with filter lens.

The rest of your body is just as important, and it is vital that welders wear flameproof clothing at all times. On top of remembering to wear your fire-retardant outfit, you need to keep it clean – any loose specks of dirt or liquids and oils could catch fire.

Know What You are Doing

If you are going to start welding, you must learn how to do it properly from trained professionals. Although you may think you know the ropes, the cons outweigh the pros here. A welding course or apprenticeship is certainly the way forward, although if you know a trained welder, then that could be your way in.

Some general things to keep in mind include:

• Only weld in a special, designated welding area. Never weld anywhere else.

• Make sure you know what you are welding – consider the coating on the material as well as the material itself.

• Make sure the designated welding area is well ventilated.

• Always keep at least one fire extinguisher in the area.

• Never look directly at a flash.

• Keep an eye on your area – look out for co-workers, others about, potentially dangerous fumes and, once finished, check where you have been working for any smoldering materials or live sparks, as you do not want to cause a fire.

Maintain Equipment

Perhaps the simplest way to maintain your welder and welding equipment is to not push it too far and use it within its specifications. It is just like any machine in that using it for a job it is not built for can exhaust and even break it. This is also relevant when it comes to the equipment you use with your generator – for example, you should check your welder works with a Clarke generator.

All welders are unique, so it is worth reading the manual and guidelines that come with it. You should be able to find the best possible ways to clean, store, repair and generally look after your welder and other welding equipment.

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Updated: February 5, 2014 — 7:44 am

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