Welding is necessary when it comes to construction and manufacturing. Metal doesn’t just stick to metal by itself, and glue isn’t the best option. So we melt down the metals to fuse them together. Seems like the best option right? Well, it is, but it comes with some side effects. Welding can be very harmful, and even deadly if proper precautions aren’t taken. You should always follow safety standards put in place to prevent any injury or death. So what are the risks and health hazards of welding?
The Risks of Welding
Welding involves very high heat. This in itself can be very dangerous. It is important to wear proper welding gloves and clothing in order to prevent serious burns.
Along with the high heat is ultraviolet radiation. If not properly protected, this radiation can affect a person very negatively with cancer and other diseases. Along with protecting the welder themselves, proper welding curtains should be in place to ensure the safety of other workers and bystanders passing by.
Welding creates fumes that are harmful to humans. If proper ventilation is not set in place, respiratory issues can soon become apparent. When exposed to welding fumes, one may experience welding fume fever. This can pass, but will cause chills, fever, muscle aches, wheezing, fatigue, nausea, and more. You’ll often experience this within four to 12 hours after exposure to welding fumes.
Welders who have been exposed to high levels of radiation and fumes for long periods of time are more at risk of cancer, respiratory problems, heart disease, hearing loss, various skin diseases, and even stomach ulcers.
Prevent Fumes From Spreading
When using welding curtains, leave space at the bottom to allow for fresh air to push the fumes out. A fan or exhaust system is also beneficial and recommended for proper ventilation. Be sure to ventilate properly. Failure to do so may spread the fumes throughout the facility instead of moving them outside. For this reason, local exhaust ventilation is the best method as it removes the fumes at the source. This is done by either using a partial enclosure or a hood positioned as closely to the welding as possible.
If local ventilation is not an option, a combination of roof vents, open doors and/or windows, and fans should be used to move the fumes away from the facility. It is strongly recommended to never weld in a small enclosed area. This will reduce your risk of being exposed to the fumes.
Always know what kinds of materials you will be working with prior to starting to weld. This will allow you to properly prepare for every situation and keep you and your crew safe. It is also important to note that different types of welding will require different safety equipment. Always be sure to use that equipment, along with the right colour welding curtain for each project.
Have more questions or concerns about the risks and health hazards of welding? Feel free to contact us and we will help you to weld in the safest way possible!