Why do welders have to wear protection? It may not come as a surprise to you but there are different types of risks (especially to a welder’s health) involved while you are welding. For this simple reason, welders are required to wear what we call as PPE or that’s Personal Protective Equipment. In a job or a career, our greatest investment is our body because it we are sick or injured, we can’t do our work. If you are injured, you may have to take time off from welding until you get better, or worse, you have to stop welding and find some other career choice.
Let’s talk about the risks that a welder faces every day! First, we have ELECTRIC SHOCK. Since welding involves using electricity, welders have to be careful all the time not to electrocute themselves accidentally. This is one of the most serious and immediate risks that a welder must face. Electric shock can lead to severe injuries or worse, death. You can get electrocuted when you mindlessly touch two metal objects that have a voltage between them, which is sort of the same as inserting yourself into the electrical circuit. Note that the higher the voltage, the higher the current, and thus, the higher your risk for electric shock. Even a shock of 50 volts or less is enough to seriously injure or kill an operator. Watch out for alternating current. This type of current is more likely to stop the heart and makes the person holding the wire unable to let go.
To combat this, you will need dry gloves in good condition. Please avoid touching the electrode or metal parts of the electrode holders with skin or wet clothing. Don’t forget to insulate yourself from the work and ground. Don’t forget to inspect the electrode holder for damage before yo begin to weld. It would also help if you keep the welding cable and electrode holder insulation in good condition because the plastic or fiber insulation on the electrode may prevent contact with the electrically hot metal parts inside. Replace damaged insulation before using.
Second, we have the danger form inhaling the fumes and gases. Most welding fumes contain potentially harmful complex metal oxide compounds from consumables, base metal and the base metal coatings. Keep in mind that you should always minimize inhaling the fumes as much as you can. Check if your welding area has enough ventilation for the fumes to exit and for fresh air to enter. If your area doesn’t have one, it may be the right time to invest in a ventilation system so that you can remove fumes and gases from the welding area. You can also choose a welding helmet that has an air filter so that it will help in filtering the air that you are inhaling.
But fumes aren’t the only thing that your helmet can protect you from. Helmets are very good in protecting your eyes from the bright blinding light caused by the welding arc. So when purchasing a welding helmet, make sure that you have the right shade lens for your welding process. Most welding helmets come with a manual so take time to read it. The common procedure for this would be that you should start with a dark filter lens and then gradually change it to a lighter shade until you have reached a good visibility at the puddle and weld joint that is comfortable and not irritating to the eyes. There is this condition called the welder’s flash which is characterized by extreme discomfort in your eyes, swelling or temporary blindness. Wear a helmet.
The three risks we’ve mentioned are very important and dangerous risks that you should learn how to protect yourself from. Don’t take the health risks lightly. Your body is really important and you should take good care of it.
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