Typically, you find tools like pipe cutters for sale, stainless-steel MIG wires, torches, and welder’s helmet in a welding shop. If the owner is enterprising, you might also find some of his creative works for sale from TV trays to architectural brackets. You’ve been looking into the possibility of setting up your welding shop. You’ve been working at one for about a year and figure that it’s time to go independent and put up your enterprise. You’ve consulted with a few people, and one of the things that they emphasized is to keep your shop safe and take measures so that accidents don’t happen.
Here’s how you can keep your welding shop safe:
The Hazards of Welding as a Profession
More than half a million workers are threatened because of the hazards of their profession as a welder, cutter, or brazer. More than four die for every 1,000 injuries.
In 1993 the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported 58 deaths from welding-related incidents, like electrocutions, explosions, or asphyxiation. A significant number of construction workers also suffered eye injuries due to the welder’s flash.
Welders are considered to be the most at-risk workers in the construction industry. Experts observed that based on the number of welders in America, the projected number of deaths given our lifetime is around 2,000. Some of the accidents that endanger the health and lives of welders include the following:
- Electrical shock
- Inhalation of fumes and gases
- Fires and explosion
- Debris that threatens the eye
- Hot metals
Extreme noise and a generally challenging work environment also contribute to health hazards.
Working Toward Safety
Although the work environment can be challenging, there are ways to improve safety conditions for welders. Here are a few things that you should note:
- Policy on being informed. As the owner of the shop, it’s up to you to require every welder to read the operating manual for equipment and other procedures in the workplace. Equipment supplier should provide you with the proper manual which everyone should read. Acquire an online version if hardcopies are always destroyed or misplaced.
- Always gear up. No skin should be exposed when doing work. This is another policy that your welders should adhere to. Flame resistant welding jackets, heavy-duty gloves, helmet, apron, pants without cuts, and high-top leather shoes should form part of the basic welder’s work attire.
- Stay away from the light. Helmets include an auto-darkening lens for a purpose: to protect your eyes from “arc flash.” Don’t allow your welders to go crazy, thinking that they can stare into the light and spark without the protective helmet. Exposure, even for a few seconds, can cause damage to a welder’s eyes.
- Get organized. Assign designated areas for each tool, supplies, and other equipment. Clear the weld area and allow only the equipment welder’s use.
Make your workers know that you are serious about keeping them healthy and safe. You can reward workers who consistently adhere to your safety policies. Likewise, penalize those who are persistently not conforming to the rules. The message should be clear. You want to run a safe and hazard-free welding business.