Welding can be a daunting task if you’re not equipped properly.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it as a professional in a factory or as a hobby in your garage, the risks presented by this activity is common to both.
Exposure to toxic fumes and gases, electric shocks and fire are often the frontrunners in the most obvious and imminent threat one might put them through if they chose to weld at any given time.
Hence, it is of utmost importance that you should always follow standard protocol and ensure that you protect yourself at all costs.
Here are 14 proven welding safety tips you should always keep in mind when welding:
1. Live by the book
As boring and counter-intuitive this might sound to those who weld for the thrill of it, this is the most basic and fool-proof way to ensure safety.
Reading the manual that comes along with the appropriate machinery will make sure that you are familiar with the equipment you’re about to work with.
Furthermore, if you lose or misplace the manual and decide to skip the process altogether, you’re taking a big risk which is not worth it.
2. Wearing the right shoes
It is of utmost importance to dress appropriately when welding.
For starters, welding bare-foot or in any footwear that is made of light cloth is highly dangerous due to the susceptibility of the material to catch fire.
This is why leather shoes and boots are always recommended, as they are less likely to catch fire easily.
3. Button up
Ultraviolet and infrared rays can potentially damage exposed skin. Additionally, several accessories in our normal dressing can catch a spark and initiate a fire.
Examples of these are the front pocket in your shirt and the cuffs that you might wear.
Ensure that when you weld, all of your ‘skin’ is covered (hence, button up) and avoid wearing clothes that might catch a spark.
4. Get comfortable with the right clothes
Welding is a dangerous activity which involves fire, which is why you should always wear clothes that are fire resistant, such as denim pants, etc.
Innovations in the past decade have introduced us to light-weight gear and accessories, so it is best to invest once and then reap the benefits.
Gloves with finger curvature and jackets/suits with ease of maneuverability are prevalent in the market now.
5. Use an exhaust hood
A common by-product of the whole welding process is toxic gases and fumes, which if inhaled can lead to serious health problems.
If you’re welding as a hobby, ensure that the confined space you’re working in has a proper ventilation system and that harmful gases aren’t accumulating in your workspace.
6. Never go for the light!
Exposure to the ‘bright’ light welding can often cause discomfort and nausea, with symptoms appearing hours later.
Helmets that you buy should have a proper viewing filter that sizes down this effect.
Underneath, also ensure that you wear safety glasses with side shield and appropriate ear protection.
These should always be in your welding safety checklist.
7. Choose the right helmet!
In this day and age, you can find auto-darkening helmets that have a reaction time of about 1/10,000 to 1/20,000 of a second.
Note that you might not have to invest too heavily if welding is just a hobby for you, but if you’re working full-time, invest in a helmet that meets the health standards of the respective industry.
8. Clean up and don’t clutter
The environment that you’ll be working is, without a doubt, hazardous. One small mistake or wrong step can have big consequences.
This is why it is always recommended to be very vigilant with where you place your things and belonging.
Designate particular spots to particular pieces of equipment and make sure you put back things where they belong.
This might be a no-brainer, but people often undervalue the importance of this step and then have to live with the consequences.
9. Stay away from electricity!
The machinery in operation here works at a very high voltage. Exposure to such voltages may burn you pretty badly.
Furthermore, if you have a pre-existing condition, things like these can often become life-threatening.
When shocked, the sudden human motion is unpredictable, and chances of further accidents are likely.
Hence, it is best to avoid any circuit while the unit is live.
Operating heavy machinery whilst in a suit can often be tiring. Take breaks whenever you’re working to stretch your neck, arms, and legs.
Not doing so can often lead to stress injuries and you may find yourself slacking or despising what you do.
This might also have a carryover in other things you do!
11. Be wary of flammable things
When welding, always ensure that there are no flammable objects in the immediate vicinity.
Flammable objects are those that can catch fire quite easily, such as gasoline, oil paint, cardboard, and propane.
Before welding, remove these items and other items of the sort.
12. Emergency kits
It is of utmost importance to always have an emergency kit nearby.
Make sure that you know where exactly the fire extinguisher is, in the case on an object around you catch fire due to the sparks and that you can respond accordingly as soon as you can.
13. Don’t have water around
Apart from imminent underwater welding dangers, the mere prospect of welding with having water around them is a thought that is dreaded by professionals.
Be extra careful with your equipment and try not to get wet.
Chances of electrocution in such scenarios are high, and since these machines operate at such high voltages, such situations can often become life-threatening.
14. Have a good time and be confident!
In such cases, confidence is always key.
Have a calm nerve when indulging in such maneuvers.
This would ensure no hasty or improper decisions which have not been thought of.
In the midst of all this, be it professional or just a hobby, do not forget to have fun!