Welding is an important process in construction and retrofitting. With advances in technology and the introduction of key innovations in welding, there are now multiple ways to achieve the successful joining of metals and thermoplastics.
But while the number of existing welding techniques and processes today are numerous, the hazards that come with each of them don’t differ much from one another, which is why providing welding hoods, jackets, masks and gloves is important no matter what process is involved.
Hazards associated with welding include:
Welding jobs involve the handling of hot objects. Without the proper equipment, workers can sustain burns that can then lead to other complications such as nerve damage, sepsis and even hypothermia. These burn-related injuries can render welders unable to work, which then affects the operations of a site.
High temperatures aren’t the only cause of burns when it comes to welding jobs. During welding processes, welders (and other workers nearby) have to deal with sparks, chips and slags flying about. Not only is their presence a fire and explosion hazard, welders are also at risk of sustaining injuries upon contact with them. Wearing improper clothing, for example, can result in a worker catching fire, which can then lead to burns. A spark can also hit the eyes, leading to short-term and long-term visual impairment.
Aside from burns, welders are also at risk of getting electrical exposure, which can be fatal without proper protection. Electric shock can lead to a number of devastating injuries, including damage to the central nervous system and tissues, cardiac arrest, long bone fractures and mental illness. Making things even more complicated is the difficulty of providing first-aid to victims.
Exposure to fumes and gases
Fumes produced by the electrode and the material being welded contain a mixture of very fine solid particles of metallic oxides, fluorides and silica. Aside from fumes, welding gases are also produced during the processes. Inhaling fumes and gases can lead to numerous negative health effects, such as respiratory, eye and skin irritation, headaches and dizziness, and fluid in the lungs.
Exposure to UV radiation resulting from welding processes can lead to photokeratitis or welder’s flash, a painful eye condition that is likened to the cornea and conjunctiva getting a sunburn and typically goes unnoticed a few hours after exposure. Another negative health effect of UV radiation is ocular melanoma in which cancer cells develop in the eye.
To protect against all of these hazards, it’s important for welding workers to be wearing the appropriate equipment. Basic welding protection includes:
Eye protection – Eye protection is important as welders are exposed to harsh UV rays most of the time. Helmets that are made of durable material and come with shaded glass are a simple but effective form of ocular protection for workers.
Thermal insulation – Welding hoods and jackets are typically made of animal leather to provide insulation, which is important as welding processes typically involve hot objects.
Fire resistance – Sparks and hot objects are fire hazards. If caught by flammable material, it could lead to burns and damaged equipment. Welding gear are made to be fire-resistant to protect against these hazards.
Providing welders with the right gear such as welding jackets and hoods, welder’s gloves and masks, and access to fire extinguishers and blankets can help eliminate welding hazards and keep your workers in tip-top condition.
If you’re looking for welding gear for the workers in your site, Hunter Industrial Supplies has you covered. Our welding jackets, hoods and gloves are made of high-quality materials to ensure the safety and health of your welders. To view our full catalogue, visit the Hunter Industrial Supplies website.
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