April is National Welding Month. Designed to increase awareness for this vital industry, National Welding Month encourages companies to show appreciation for the impact welders have on their business and on so many of the products we encounter in our daily lives. At OMS, we recognize the skills required to maintain quality welding standards and the precautions that must be followed to ensure the safety of our team members. To kick off National Welding Month at OMS, we have identified welding safety precautions to keep top of mind.
Welders are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment to prevent themselves from injury.
A welder’s clothing should allow freedom of movement and also cover all exposed areas of skin. Protective gear includes:
- Flame-retardant gloves that cover the elbow, wrist, and forearm to shield extremities from spatters, sparks, and heat
- Long-sleeved shirts or jackets without exposed pockets and cuffless pants that cover the top of boots to keep sparks from collecting in and igniting material
- ANSI rated, above ankle height, rubber-soled boots with a steel or composite toe to safeguard from toe crushing and electric shock
- Welding cap and welding helmet with a filter lens and cover plate to protect the face, neck, eyes, and ears against UV and IR radiation, sparks, and flying particles
- Earplugs to protect from sudden or excessive noise
- In some cases, a welding respirator made be needed to reduce exposure to airborne welding fumes
Welding equipment should be thoroughly inspected before use.
Welding cables should be free from entanglement and kept out of the way to prevent tripping. Inspect welding leads for cuts and burn marks that may need repair. Gas cylinders must be stored and secured upright to prevent tipping or falling. Oxygen cylinders must be kept 20 feet away from fuel-gas cylinders. Check valves and flashback arrestors can reduce the volume of gases at the tip/nozzle. Electrode holders and earthing clamps must be in good condition. Generators should be grounded and properly connected to a sufficient power source.
Welding operations should be contained within a safe location.
Designate a specific welding location or bay and shield it with a powder-coated, fire-retardant welding curtain or screen. The primary function offered by the welding screen is to reduce UV light exposure in the vicinity of other workers. They can also reduce the direct exposure of bystanders to fumes produced by welding arcs. Fire extinguishers must be available in all bays. Safeguard immovable fire hazards to protect them from heat, sparks, and hot slags. Ensure proper ventilation through forced air or exhaust to prevent welders and other workers from breathing high levels of airborne contaminants.
Additional welding tools and ergonomic solutions can reduce injury and fatigue.
Avoid fixed work positions to help maintain proper blood supply to muscles and reduce stress. Minimize unnecessary material handling by incorporating lightweight or suspended tools, jigs, and fixtures. Keep elbows close to the body and avoid positions that require the arms to raise over the head. Take sufficient breaks to improve physical comfort and reduce the musculoskeletal impact of repetitive and vibratory tasks.
At OMS, safety is one of our core values. We approach every day as an opportunity to improve safety in our fabrication hubs. During National Welding Month, we draw special attention to the safety of our welders and applaud those who adhere to these guidelines and those set forth by the American Welding Society and OSHA.