Did you know that by adhering to a few simple safety guidelines you can minimize injuries in your welding shop and potentially increase efficiency and production?
Here are 11 safety tips for welders:
- Read the manual: Always read the manual for any welding tools and machinery you are using to be sure you are aware of all safety precautions, and proper use guidelines. If you lost the manual that came with your equipment, check the manufacturer’s website for a PDF copy.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Cover all exposed skin to minimize potential for damage from ultraviolet and infrared rays. Avoid wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts, ensure your clothing is fully buttoned or zipped, and any pockets or places where sparks could fly and smolder or catch fire (shirt collars, cuffs, front pockets) are covered. It’s also smart to avoid keeping anything flammable like matches or butane lighters on your person or nearby when welding.
- Wear appropriate safety gear: No matter how “quick” your welding job is, always wear all your safety gear. When possible, wear flame resistant clothing like denim, tightly woven fabrics, or a specially designed welding jacket. For your protection, wear specialized welding gloves for your specific welding purpose. Even with gloves, always be sure to use pliers to pick up freshly welded materials as gloves are not guaranteed to protect you from burns.
- Wear proper footwear and laces: Avoid wearing sandals, tennis, and cloth shoes. Protect your feet with high-top leather boots. You can further protect yourself with Ironlace boot laces, which are built to withstand the harshest environments on earth, even the welding shop.
- Ensure proper venting: Welding emits dangerous smoke and fumes so ensure your workshop is open and properly vented to minimize exposure. Consider an exhaust hood to remove fumes from the space, or if you must work in a confined space, wear a respirator.
- Protect your eyes: Looking into the welding arc can cause “arc flash” and give you vision difficulties and pain for hours. Always wear a welding helmet with a filter shade so you can still watch your work. Different shades are available depending on your welding application so ensure you get the correct one for your project to minimize risk. In addition, always wear ear protection and wrap-around safety glasses under your helmet.
- Consider auto-darkening helmets: Auto-darkening helmets darken the lens in a fraction of a second (some industrial-grade helmets dim in 1/10,000 to 1/20,000 of a second and have shade settings from #9-13 for welding purposes). For a multi-purpose helmet for all your workshop needs, look for one that has different modes for welding, cutting, and grinding. These helmets can also help reduce repetitive stress injuries from constantly snapping your head down to drop the shield before every weld (like you have to with traditional helmets)
- Avoid clutter in your workspace: Ensure your welding area is clear of any unnecessary tools and materials. Cluttered or cramped welding spaces increase the risk of knocking over equipment and causing further injury or equipment damage.
- Install boom-mounted wire feeders: By mounting your wires using a boom-mounted wire feeder you get flexibility and better comfort and you minimize tripping hazards. Booms rotate 360 degrees and moves 60 degrees up and down (creating a 24-32 ft work area).
- Use fixturing: When possible, use fixtures to flip and move heavy equipment and materials (as opposed to using chain and hoist systems). You can move equipment and materials faster and with more flexibility, and you don’t have the risk of getting body parts or clothing caught in chain/hoist systems.
- Consider incentivizing safety adherence: Encourage all welders and all staff to be safe by providing the proper, well-maintained safety equipment. Consider rewarding staff for safety compliance and encourage people to report unsafe behaviour immediately.
When you turn safety into a routine and not a rule, you can minimize injuries, increase production, and have a happier, healthier workplace!
Consider supplying Ironlace boot laces for your team. These laces are made tough to withstand some of the harshest environments on earth and are the perfect addition to any manufacturing or production shop.