Arc Welding Safety: Knowing the Risks and Required Equipment

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Risk is an imminent part of life and work procedures, and everything that we do has a certain element of risk involved in it. Below I will discuss the risk elements of electric arc welding and the ways to deal with these dangers. 

Shock: the risk of shock is present wherever electricity is present and cannot be helped but can only be avoided. High current and a reasonable voltage is a prerequisite for welding to take place in the electric arc welding process. Hence the welder should properly insulate the body from becoming a conductor for the current. This is done by using appropriate shoes of insulating material, wearing welding gloves, and trying to keep the area dry and devoid of water to the maximum extent possible. The risk of shock is minimized using these procedures which only require common sense. For example you would certainly be inviting disaster if you are welding in pouring rain while sitting in the open with water all around you. Of course there are other processes in which welding is carried out even in depths of water known as under-water welding but that is a different story to be dealt with elsewhere.

Heat/Sparks/Flame: the arc may be electrical in nature but it certainly produces a large amount of heat which is sufficient enough to melt the metals which are to be joined. So this should be enough to give an idea as to how much heat is present in the arc and the necessity of being safe from the same. Although the whole body is susceptible to damage from the heat and sparks, the parts particularly in danger are the hands and eyes of the welder and hence are protected using the welding goggles and gloves. The gloves as you must have noted, serve the dual purpose of protection from heat as well as shock.

Infrared & UV Light: the light emitted during arc welding belongs to all three ranges of the spectrum namely visible light, infrared light and UV light. The welder needs to use appropriate face shield and goggles. The goggles not only protect the welder’s eyes from heat and sparks but also from the intense ultra violet radiations that arise during the process. In the absence of proper eye protection a condition known as “arc-eye” might develop which is associated with damage to cornea and burning of the retina.

Smoke: a lot of smoke and gases are associated with the arc welding process which might be harmful therefore sufficient ventilation must be ensured during welding while taking measures not to inhale too much of this smoke and gas during the process.

Apart from these paraphernalia always ensure that you are not wearing any cloth or material which can easily be ignited so that the risk of fire is reduced to a minimum. Last but not least always remember that safety first is a must and therefore a welder better take precautions in the first place rather than risk life and limb due to carelessness.

Read more about Arc Welding:

The Process and History of Arc Welding

Robot Welding