Arc welding is a common, effective method of welding if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you can wind up harming yourself or others in the environment. Don’t stress just yet; below, we’ll dive into some of the essential safety standards to maintain while arc welding. Maintaining these standards in your welding area will help you remain healthy and productive during each and every task.
Ensure PPE Has No Pockets or Openings
Fire-resistant pants and jackets are just two of the essential pieces of PPE (personal protective equipment) that welders need to wear at all times. However, fire-resistance isn’t the only quality to look for in this protective gear; you have to be wary of pockets and holes too. This is because those openings can catch sparks that emit from the weld. If your PPE has any openings, securely cover them to prevent sparks from finding their way inside. The same thing can happen with cuffs on your pants, so be wary of those as well.
Openings on Floors and Walls Should Be Covered Too
Your clothes aren’t the only materials in the room that can catch sparks. This is why, prior to beginning your weld, it’s crucial to inspect the area for holes or cracks in the floor and walls. These openings can also house sparks, giving them a place to smolder and potentially start a fire. This is a major health hazard, but there’s an easy way to fix it. Simply close off any openings in the welding environment with a fireproof covering.
Make Ventilation a Priority, Not an Afterthought
In order to maintain a clean supply of air in the welding area, it’s vital for welders to have a good ventilation system and, in some cases, an exhaust system for particularly dangerous materials. This is because, while all welding tasks require good ventilation to maintain proper safety standards, some materials can create more toxic fumes than others.
Extremely toxic materials including, but not limited to, flux coatings, beryllium, zinc, and lead require extra precautions, such as a respirator, to prevent major injuries. If you notice an excessive build-up of fumes in your work area, fix the problem immediately; don’t make it an afterthought.
While these are three of the most important safety standards to maintain while arc welding, they aren’t the only ones you need to know. Before starting your next weld, familiarize yourself with common safety hazards, of which there are many, that may be present in welding areas. That way, you can prevent fume inhalation, burns, electric shocks, and other hazards from causing you, and others around you, harm.