An image showing a welder using welding tools in Birmingham

Welding Health and Safety: The Essentials

Welding provides solutions in so many areas of the manufacturing world. It is an extremely useful process that requires years of training and experience to master. As well as being useful, though, it is also potentially quite dangerous. It is absolutely essential that welding health and safety is constantly adhered to throughout the process, regardless of how experienced or inexperienced the welder may be.

Here, Arc Welding Services Ltd explain the essential health and safety points that must be considered by anyone working in welding.

Fumes

Breathing in fumes while welding is a common cause for illness, so it’s important to know how to guard against this problem. Not doing so can cause pneumonia, asthma, and damage to the lungs.

If you show any signs of becoming ill, such as a sore throat or irritation anywhere on the body, from welding fumes then you should consult a doctor immediately. It is also advisable to have a check up before you begin your career as a welder – if you’re particularly susceptible then it may not be the career for you!

Fires

Welding is hot work. With welding relying so much on extremely hot flames, the possibility of being harmed by fires or even explosions is quite high. To guard against this danger, ensure that any flammable materials are cleared from the area before starting your work. It is also incredibly important that any valves are closed securely – gas leakages can cause explosions.

Finally, ensure that the welding area is monitored for at least 30 minutes after your work has finished. Heat doesn’t disappear just because you’ve finished your work.

Electrical issues

The Arc weld requires a live electrical circuit to be used, so it’s important to consider electrical issues when talking about welding health and safety. In all cases, you must ensure that every piece of equipment conforms to ISO and BS standards. You must also make sure that the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) is worn at all times, and that nothing you’re working with is damaged. Finally, also ensure that any fixed welding equipment was (or is) installed by qualified personnel.

Trip hazards

While not specific to welding, trip and slip hazards are a very real danger in any work environment. Ensure that all equipment is properly cleared away and that enough room is left in walkways.

Please be advised that this list is not definitive. It is only meant to provide an overview of the essential welding health and safety considerations. For a more in-depth look at this subject, we advise that you visit the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website.