Welding Safety is a concern for all welders because they are continuously exposed to various workplace hazards. In order to prevent injury, it is important to know what kinds of safety equipment is available to you; so we’ve put together a list of 7 tips to help keep you safe.
1. Read the Manual
The manual that came with your welder contains important information key to operating your welder safely. The manual will also include tips on how to maximize the machines potential. If your manual is lost or damaged, contact the manufacturer or visit the manufacturer website for an online manual.
2. Wear the Proper Gear
Wearing the proper gear when welding is important to help protect yourself from all the potentially harmful effects of arc welding. You should wear only flame resistant clothing, such as denim pants and a welding jacket or other tightly woven material. Gloves are also a necessity when keeping your hands safe from the heat and sparks of the welding process.
3. Button Up
With your safety gear on, you need to then protect the areas the safety gear doesn’t cover. Any exposed skin is susceptible to the damaging effects of the ultraviolet and infrared rays created when welding. Be mindful of open pockets, pant cuffs and loose clothing, as sparks can catch and smolder while the welder is busy working. Always take time to Button up and tuck in!
4. Clean your Work space
Before welding, it is a good idea to examine your work space for any clutter that may get in the way. Performing this quick check also ensures that there are no flammable materials in the area that can ignite from the sparks. A clean welding area should contain only tools and equipment that is being used by the operator.
5. Breathe Freely
While welding, smoke and fumes are emitted that can pose a serious health hazard if not dealt with. In confined spaces, it is important to use an exhaust hood, similar to that above a kitchen stove, or other exhaust method to effectively remove fumes from the area and create a breathable work space.
It is also important to know the materials being worked with, as some require a respirator when welding.
6. Use a Good Helmet
It only takes a moment of exposure to a welding arc for unprotected eyes to experience “arc flash,” a painful condition that may not appear until hours later. Always be sure to wear a helmet when working with welding equipment, and that the proper safety equipment and shielding is in place for those working around the equipment.
7. Get an Auto-Darkening Helmet
Sensors on auto-darkening helmets darken the lens in a fraction of a second and and must meet ANSI standards. Nice auto-darkening helmets can be purchased for roughly $90 and have different modes allowing the same helmet to be used for multiple jobs, such as welding, cutting and grinding.
Not only are auto-darkening helmets effective at protecting your eyes, they help reduce neck fatigue compared to traditional fixed shade helmets. Even more, an auto darkening helmet can help save time between welds increasing efficiency. You can even find auto darkening welding helmets with neat graphics like flames or skulls!
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