How to Stay Safe When Welding

As with many tasks on a building site, welding is a highly skilled job that requires expert knowledge. It is likely to be used in a range of construction projects, from residential housing developments to large-scale schemes to create some of the world's tallest buildings and office blocks.

In fact, any project that requires materials to be joined together–often metal–needs the expertise of a welder. As well as construction schemes to create buildings, it is also used on engineering initiatives to create structures such as bridges.

 Although it is chiefly an industrial process, welding can be used in a range of locations, including underwater. It involves the melting of the materials to be joined along with a filler substance to bind them. There are also numerous energy sources that can be utilised to weld.

 A number of tools are required and construction companies can hire welding equipment to ensure they have the right items for the job. However, because it is such a highly skilled task, it is important contractors are aware of the necessary safety issues that need to taken into account.

All of the below applies to specialist welders as well as those who do small amounts of welding as part of their job role.

What Are The Risks Involved In Welding?

Welding, cutting and brazing operations involve a wide range of risks and hazards. They include:

Metals which can release fumes will include the likes of aluminium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, silver, titanium and zinc. Other chemicals which may be present or produced include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fluoride and nitrogen dioxide.

Many of these can be controlled by carrying out risk assessments to identify and remedy risks, and the appropriate use of PPE.

How To Reduce The Risks of Welding

Wear PPE

When welding, you should wear:

  • Welding cap
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Respirator or breathing mask
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing (which completely covers skin)
  • A suitable apron (such as leather), to protect clothing
  • Work boots

Some workplaces may recommend a full face shield and a welding helmet for additional protection.

Use alternative techniques

One of these is cold joining. Little or no heat is involved, and you eliminate all of the sparks and flames involved in traditional welding. It is a technique used in industries such as aerospace, so a tried and trusted method.

Use fume controls and Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)

There is a risk of fumes in almost all industries, whether welding, manufacturing or even in office roles where there are still cleaning products. Read all about how to control and manage fumes, which may involve hiring extractors and increasing general ventilation.

Ensure welders are trained and knowledgeable about risks

Welders should know what they need to do and how best to carry out the job while minimising risks and being able to deal with risks. If training is required, this is the responsibility of the employer. They must understand that an employee needs all of the 

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