Millions of people are exposed to the dangers of welding each year. We are accountable for maintaining safe working practices and the environment, for all the workers to arrive at their homes just as they did at work. It is always essential to create welding safety measures to safeguard all personnel, company assets, and welder productivity. Some of the most crucial methods are proper training, regular inspections of welding equipment, and monitoring worker health.
Types of Welding
OSHA classifies welding into two categories: A) Fusion (heat application only) and B) Pressure (application of both heat and pressure to fuse two metals). OSHA additionally categorizes fusion welding into three groups:
Electric arc welding is a type of welding in which heat is produced by applying electricity to melt the filler and base metal. According to how much fume is produced while welding, this is further split into 04 categories (ordered from least to most):
- Arc flux core welding (FCAW)
- Metal arc shielded welding (SMAW)
- Metal inert gas welding (MGW) or gas metal arc welding (MIG)
- Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) (TIG)
- Gas welding: The base metal at the junction is melted using flames of burning gas, often acetylene.
- Thermit: Using a chemical process in place of gas fuel or electric current to generate sweltering temperatures.
Importance of Health and Safety during Welding
Keeping an eye on employee safety may appear to be a simple matter, but there are several factors to consider. Everything present during welding work, including gases and instruments, leaves its mark. Safety issues considerably rise when welders operate at heights or in an unfamiliar, high-risk area (such as an offshore project or an electric plant).
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, all requirements and standards must be followed. Because of these laws, an employer is responsible for protecting all employees’ welfare, health, and safety while at work. Furthermore, it directs how to give workers supervision, PPE, and training. This act also covers the upkeep of all forms of machinery.
Hazards and Risks during Welding
There are several different risks associated with welding that affect both the welder and everyone nearby. Our job is to know all potential dangers and hazards in welding environments. Understanding the risks, their risk, and their severity degree is essential.
Various risks associated with welding affect the person doing the welding and everyone nearby. Therefore, you must be aware of the dangers and risks of welding and the safety measures you may take. There are many different kinds of risks when welding, including the following:
Live electric current is constantly present in the electrical circuits of the welding equipment during arc welding to generate heat and melt metal. The most important risk associated with welding is electric shock, which is created due to this. Additionally, if any portion of the welding holder or electrode circuit comes in contact with you while welding, you risk receiving a secondary electric shock. You typically put yourself in danger in these difficult circumstances when:
- You work in a damp environment.
- if using wet clothes.
- working on a metal structure or floor
- while positioned in a constrained position, such as lying down, kneeling, or crouching.
- If the body earthing for your welding machine is not connected.
- If you conduct electrically dangerous employment, you are especially vulnerable. Among them is welding.
- In a moist environment.
- While donning drenched attire.
- On surfaces or buildings made of metal.
- In confined spaces where you must lie, kneel, or crouch.
You are exposed to loud and lingering noises when welding activities occur. It is deemed loud when noise levels exceed 85 dB (decibels). Flame-cutting and arc welding are two welding processes that can generate noise levels over 100 DB. This may cause lifelong hearing loss and be hazardous to the ears.
The following adverse effects may result from hearing loss caused by noise:
- Constantly experiencing some ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is the term for this.
- Experiencing intermittent vertigo or dizziness.
- Elevated heart rate
- Abnormal blood pressure elevation
- Experiencing headaches occasionally.
Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) radiation
Without the proper PPE and welding goggles, the powerful UV radiation released during welding can be uncomfortable and hazardous. This can occasionally result in Arc-eye, a chronically painful disorder. Some more elements influence how severe an injury is, including:
- Angle of penetration
Cataracts and vision loss are other long-term effects of arc flash exposure. A few additional causes of eye injury include:
- Arc spatter, debris, grits, and dust are included as foreign particles in the eyes.
- Prolonged direct contact with gases and fumes in the eyes
Fire and Explosion
Due to the numerous fatalities caused by hot work, fires and explosions occur. A fire can be quickly started by hot metal components, sparks, and drips of molten metal. Before beginning any welding task, you should constantly keep an eye out for the following:
- Anything nearby that could catch fire.
- Using fire retardant fabric properly to cover the welding work area.
- adjacent welding job with a fire extinguisher available.
- Removal of any drum type that might contain oil, paint, spirits, or other materials (even in minute amounts).
Hazards of Welding in Confined Spaces
A restricted space is a location with a constrained entrance point, no ventilation, and no airflow. The most crucial factor when working in a familiar environment is adequate ventilation and airflow control. Due to the limited size, it is simple for a dangerous concentration of harmful fumes and gases to accumulate in confined spaces, rendering a person unconscious or even causing suffocating death.
Continuous welding in a small space depletes the air’s oxygen supply and produces poisonous fumes and gases like CO. These gases pose serious health risks. Relatively high concentrations of some vapors have been known to cause explosions.
The following precautions must be taken by all welders who enter tight spaces, whether regularly or in an emergency, to ensure their safety:
- Every welder must have a safety harness, a lifeline, the proper protective gear, and a self-contained breathing apparatus. Avoid using an air-purifying respirator because it can cause asphyxia in small spaces.
- The gas cylinder and the power source for the welding connection should be put in a safe place away from restricted spaces.
- Before entering a confined location, a gas detector should be used to check for hazardous, flammable, or explosive gases.
- A skilled welding assistant must always remain outside the confined space while wearing PPE and a fire extinguisher.
- Use only air ventilation wherever possible. Never ventilate using oxygen.
- When welding is being done, use continuous ventilation.
- Except for welding supplies and essential safety equipment, enclosed spaces should be cleared of extraneous items.
Pipingmart is B2B portal specializes in industrial, metal and piping products. Also, share latest information and news related to products, materials and different types grades to help business dealing in this industry.