Welding Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Metal Fabrication, Welding | November 30, 2021

Welding is a complex procedure that involves the heating, melting, and joining of two different metal products. As a technical process, welders must be aware of and prepared for a variety of hazards to minimize the risk of injury. Failure to understand welding hazards and how to avoid them can lead to severe injury or even death. As leading providers of fabrication and welding services, the team at LWS Manufacturing & Welding understands the importance of welding safety. That is why we have compiled a list of the most common welding hazards and some information for each hazard to minimize the risk of injury.

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3 Common Welding Hazards and Effective Avoidance Techniques

The following hazards are the most common causes of welding injuries each year:

1. Electric Shock

Live electrical circuits are used to melt metals during arc welding procedures, creating a significant risk for electric shock. Electric shock incidents are classified into two categories known as primary voltage shock and secondary voltage shock. The former is extremely dangerous and can occur due to direct contact with the inside of welding equipment and grounded metals. The latter category poses a reduced risk, but secondary shocks can still be lethal in certain conditions. Proper insulation, rubber mats, grounding, cautious operation, and well-maintained equipment are crucial for preventing electric shock.

2. Fire Hazards

Welding generates sparks that can spray up to 35 ft in any direction, creating a significant fire hazard. Greasy clothing, chemicals, and fuel are all at risk of igniting and causing a fire that could cause significant facility damage, injury, or death. To minimize the risk of fire, it is crucial for facilities to have easily accessible fire extinguishers. Welders should also ensure that their work area is organized and free of any flammable substances. If these substances cannot be moved, fire-resistant shields should be utilized to protect them from sparks. Dust can also increase the risk of ignition, so welders and other personnel must ensure that their facility is kept clean.

3. Fumes and Gases

Invisible gaseous fumes like ozone, nitrogen, chromium oxides, and carbon monoxide can be produced through the welding process. Each of these fumes pose a significant threat to welders and surrounding personnel. Some illnesses caused by welding fumes and gases are pneumonia, asthma, cancer, and metal fume fever. Welders should always keep their head out of the fumes and facilities should utilize suitable ventilation/exhaust removal equipment. Workers that will be exposed to fumes must also wear proper respiratory protection, especially in areas where ventilation is insufficient.

To learn more about welding safety or to inquire about our welding services and metal products, get in touch with the team at LWS Manufacturing & Welding. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.