Welding Hazards and Safe Practices
Welding is considered to be an incredibly hazardous profession. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, has established guidelines specifically addressing this type of work. We’ve summarized some OSHA’s key safety points, but we encourage you to read it in full here.
The health hazards associated with welding, cutting and aluminum fabrication include eye injury from ultraviolet radiation. Welding requires a great deal of concentration, but it’s important to understand that staring at a white or blue flame for an extended period of time can cause irreversible damage.
Welding can create dangerous byproducts. In addition to the metal shards and sparks you can see and avoid, the process can release dangerous metal fumes. For this reason, eye protection alone might not be enough. A full face mask or hood can block out many of the vapors.
Other risks include electrical shock, cuts and burns.
What You Can Do
Your safety depends on your ability to identify dangers at a personal level, but your employer bears much of the responsibility. It’s important that your workplace practice extreme caution and that the site is properly evaluated by trained professionals on a regular basis.
You must wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE). OSHA provides a comprehensive list of PPE options. It also provides information on fire safety, confined spaces, communicating dangers and protecting eyes and ears.
Contact National Metal Fabricators to learn more about safe welding, and be sure and consult with your company or with government agencies like OSHA to determine the best way to keep safe.