There are a lot of safety and health hazards that go hand in hand with welding. Many of these happen during the process, but some even happen after. There are two types of hazards present during the welding process. The first is chemical hazards and the second is physical hazards.
The chemical hazards consist of:
- Metal and contaminant fumes and gases
- Organic vapors that are either used or produced in the welding process
The physical hazards would include:
- Loud noise
- Thermal stress on your body
- Welding sparks, spatter, open flames
- Mechanical hazards
Both of these types of hazards effect your health as a welder. A few of the health effects could include, but are definitely not limited to are:
- Irritation and damaging of ears, eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs
- Respiratory system failure
- Substernal pain, headaches
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of smell
- Dizziness and confusion
The CWB Group offers trainings and certifications courses for welders. These courses talk more about the general risks and hazards of the welding industry.
Safety work practices sometimes depend on the complexity of the task at hand and on the conditions of the worksite. But even the smallest task can turn into a massive fire and put you in the hospital.
Canadian Standards Association work hard to improve the health and safety of welders. They provided an improved and much needed update to the welding standards and regulations. An example of the update is the PPE portion of the standards. They are as follows:
- Protective clothing – depending on the welding task being performed, welders are to wear fabric that is heat and fire resistant. Long sleeved top and pants should not have cuffs.
- Footwear – Minimum boot height of 150 ml, with an outer shell made up of leather or other non-flammable material.
- Respiratory protection – strong recommendations of powered air purifying respirators.
- Helmet – fits over the head and is hinged so that it can be raised after welding.
- Safety goggles – should be worn under the helmet at all times to protect your eyes from any flying particles.
- Gloves – should be gauntlet style to protect the wrist areas.
- Ear protection – comes highly recommended to protect from flying particles and noise.
PPE isn’t the only thing that will protect you. Developing safe working habits and practicing your work safely will decrease all of the risks and hazards in your workplace. A few examples of safe work practices are listed below:
- Inspect welding equipment’s before proceeding
- Do not touch the metal parts of the electrode holder with your skin or wet clothing
- You should remain in the work area for at least 30 minutes after you finish, this will ensure there is no smoldering fires.
For more information on this topic you can visit our Compliance for Canada Hard Hat Training Series. Our training course, Welding Online Training, goes more into depth about all the hazards and safety practices of welding. Good luck out there!