Welding exposes you to similar hazards, regardless of you’re working as an independent fabricator, a construction firm, or a welding-intensive manufacturing company. It’s crucial to be aware of the welding safety tips and tricks by gaining insights through expert online resources, such as Crom Weld’s Guide to Beginner Welders. In this post, we’ll provide some general guidelines to help you safeguard yourself when you’re welding any type or size of a project. Let’s get started!
Always Read the Manual
The welding machine manufacturer itself provides the best safety tips, whether you’re doing a home renovation project or working in an industrial setting. The operating manual of any welding tool or equipment includes relevant information, including how to maximize the potential of the machine and safety precautions involved when handling the equipment. If ever the user manual got damaged or lost, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer to get a replacement. With the digital age, manufacturers also have online user manuals available. Just enter the model number of the welding machine and the name of the manufacturer on the search engine to find the digital copy.
Wear an Appropriate Auto-Darkening Helmet
It’s essential to choose an auto-darkening helmet that meets the ANSI standards. For industrial-grade helmets, they react at 1/10,000 to 1/20,000 of second speeds with adjustable shades settings (#9 to #13) appropriate for welding. They also have adjustable sensitivity, which is perfect for low amperage welding, as well as delay controls for adjusting the length of time the lens stays dark once the arc stops.
One of the latest developments of newer helmets today is the electromagnetic sensing mode, which offers full protection whenever the sensors are obstructed (e.g., welding out-of-position or pipe welding). Don’t settle for 1/2,000 to 1/3,600 of a second reaction time because these helmets are not suitable for industrial applications.
Always remember that any exposed skin is at risk to the damaging and painful effects of infrared and ultraviolet rays. Furthermore, sparks catch in pant cuffs, open pockets, or down a shirt that’s not entirely buttoned, causing unnoticed smoldering while you’re “under the hood.” Make sure to button your shirt collar, cuffs, and the front pockets to avoid catching sparks and to protect your skin. Never keep butane lighters or matches in your pockets. Don’t wear cuffed pants because they may catch sparks.
Wear Flame-Resistant Clothing and Shoes
You need to wear flame-resistant clothing that’s made from a tightly woven material, such as a welding jacket. Welding jackets aren’t hot, heavy, and cumbersome anymore because manufacturers produce lightweight welding jackets today.
The same is true with gloves. Latest welding gloves are now ergonomically designed to provide added touch and dexterity. Don’t use gloves to pick-up welded materials; you should use pliers to avoid accidental burns. To ensure the best protection to your feet, wear boots or high-top leather shoes. Don’t wear cloth or tennis shoes because they also catch fire.
Use Appropriate Breathing Apparatus
Fumes coming from welding materials can pose health risks. An exhaust hood can remove accumulated fumes. Some materials require using respirators. You need to check with the manufacturer through their Electrode Data Sheet. Consult your industrial safety specialist or engineer for proper procedures.
Prepare the Welding Area
Preparation is the key to a safe welding job. Mark or label the place for every piece of welding equipment. Organize your things, and the weld area should only contain the tools and equipment you’ll be using. Choose weld tables that are adjustable so that you can adjust accordingly depending on your height, instead of fixed-height tables. Don’t weld in an enclosed area with TIG or MIG because both use Argon, which is an inert, odorless, and colorless gas that’s about twice the weight of air. It can reduce oxygen levels that can lead to difficulty breathing.
Whenever possible, use fixturing, such as a simple gearbox that rotates a 1000 to 2000-pound component. It eliminates the use of chain which also reduces potential hazards.
By knowing what you need to do and the things you shouldn’t do is essential to keep yourself safe while working on a project. Welding requires not only the knowledge and skills of welding techniques but also the safety precautions for a successful project. If you’re unsure what to do, consult your site engineer or the welding machine manufacturer. On your free time, keep yourself abreast with the latest trends in the welding industry. By doing so, you become a better welder as you progress along with your career. Prioritize your safety more than anything else to avoid injuries.