Safety and Peace of Mind:
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The Welding-helmet is probably the most easily recognized symbol of a welding operation.
As an experienced welding shop owner or manager, you certainly know all you need to run a safe operation.
But is that really sufficient? Do you enjoy complete Peace of Mind?
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Maybe incompetent people loafing around are tempted to operate some of the equipment, say just to lit a cigarette?
Or to repair their own gadget?
Do they wear a Welding-helmet? Can you be sure they will not start a fire?
Or cause injuries to themselves or others, or damages you will held responsible for?
Do not underestimate the dangers
The following is intended to provide some guidance to anybody looking for necessary accessories like Welding-helmet and other personal protection items, and for important requirements to be implemented and followed in order to prevent dangers to people and/or property from unsafe welding practices.
Long ago every welder used a mask. It was probably quite adequate, except that one hand had to hold it and could not perform other actions. The head was more free and one could breathe more comfortably.
Then the Welding-helmet was introduced, freeing the hand from holding the mask, and providing more protection to the welder's head. Now it would seem unthinkable not to use a Welding-helmet.
Welding-helmet is available with fixed or flippable dark windows or with automatically darkening light screens: any type the welder feels comfortable with is adequate provided it absorbs most of the harmful visual and ultra violet radiation.
There is over choice of available Welding-helmets, most of them should be suitable for their use. You can reach here search pages showing many items. Click on Welding Helmets.|
They are not set in any particular order.
As nobody would dream to start welding without wearing a Welding-helmet, he/she should be aware that welding safety involves every aspect of a welding operation.
From the purchase of safe and approved equipment and accessories like Welding-helmet or welding mask, gloves and personal protection tools, through proper installation in fixed and stable welding booths with Welding Fume control.
Search pages with a rich selection of
Welding Gloves (and also of Working Gloves) is reached by clicking on the underlined link.
Reach the individual Product Description above by clicking on any item of the search pages.
For serious welding work, besides the Welding-helmet, wearing protective equipment is a must. A selection of suitable items can be found by clicking on Welding Protection.|
For examining the individual Product Description click on each item of the Search Pages.
An Article on Transparent Welding Curtains was published in the November 2005 Issue No. 27 of Practical Welding Letter. Click on PWL#027.
Vinyl Screens like those presented in the article above are used to dim the arc light to supervisors and to bystanders around the welding place. Click on
Welding Curtains, and then click on any item of the search pages to examine the individual Product Description.|
Good housekeeping of equipment: a must
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From checking and maintaining hoses and cables on a regular schedule, from providing personnel protection gear suited to the jobs on hand, Welding-helmet, apron, gloves etc., and insisting for their correct usage, to adequate application of approved welding techniques.
Essentially safety is promoted by continuing education and discipline so that rebel or insubordinate workpeople should be reproached and dismissed if necessary.
As Welding-helmet is necessary to protect the eyesight, WELDING SAFETY is a most important subject, because in welding one deals with exploitation of energetic means capable of yielding high temperatures: any run out of uncontrolled energy, can lead to disastrous outcomes.
Think of the consequences. Also helpers or bystanders could be momentarily blinded if not wearing a Welding-helmet or otherwise being screened from the arc light.
A Welding-helmet with auto darkening feature offers the benefit of unobstructed view in the absence of arc light, without requiring a hand movement for flipping the dark glass: this is a perceived benefit worth consideration.
Welding is powerful and dangerous:
learn how to tame it
One must always remember that the heat energy used for welding could make much damage to persons and property, if let to extend outside the exact point where it is meant to operate.
Therefore there is a need of serious attention from the welding shop owner, the welding foreman, to give example and setting the standards to the welder and the apprentice, because of the dire consequences of any negligence or foolhardiness.
A new website page on a related subject was recently published in this Website.
Click on Fume Hazards to see it.
Another new website page on a related subject was recently published.
Click on Fire Prevention to see it.
The following information is provided in good faith, to warn
interested people, especially those working outside an established welding facility, against the many dangers that are inherent with all welding operations.
Provisions, like Welding-helmet or welding mask and additional personal protective equipment must be available and used.
See: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Welding
However no claim of completeness or thoroughness, either explicit or implied, is hereby made, and not all of the dangers may be adequately covered.
Anyone involved in a welding operation is warned to study on his/her own responsibility the actual dangers likely to apply in the specific situation and to provide adequate protection to people and property.
A comprehensive review of important WELDING SAFETY related subjects including Welding-helmet and other protective accessories, can be found by clicking on OSHA Information and searching for the term "Welding Safety".
Inquire on Code requirements...
First the law: one should inquire with the Fire Brigade, with the local authorities and with an insurance company what are the Code requirements for the place, the environment, the equipment and the needed accessories.
Welders, even when protected by a Welding-helmet, are subject to a number of dangers which derive from exposure to the harsh environment characteristic of this type of work.
Common to all processes is concentrated HEAT, necessary for melting, but still dangerous even after solidification, when the material yet at elevated temperatures is capable of causing fires of combustible materials and skin burns if touched.
Establish written safety procedures...
...and enforce them! For Friction Welding Equipment one should take the normal precautions one uses when dealing with rotating machinery, and also with presses, because these are the main elements of this equipment. The precautions involve the use of enclosures to be shut before starting operation.
RESISTANCE WELDING machines should be made foolproof by adding enclosures or protections that effectively prevent introducing fingers between electrodes when there is a danger of the moving head becoming suddenly energized.
RESISTANCE WELDING equipment need comply to standards established by the Resistance Welder Manufacturers' Association (RWMA) and the National Electrical Manufacturers' Association (NEMA).
Electrical power supply should be delivered through a safety type disconnecting general switch, to be opened for shut off when the machine has to be serviced.
As with other types of machinery where sudden movement of operating parts might injure hand or fingers of operators, there should be safety enclosures around open space.
Compressed gas handling...
When using oxyacetylene Gas Welding Equipment one should be aware of the correct handling
of COMPRESSED GAS bottles and accessories.
Cylinders should be firmly retained in vertical position. Safety posters (USE NO OIL!) are available from commercial and institutional sources, and should be put in clear view of the workers.
Regulators are not to be swapped between gases. In particular people should beware of explosive mixtures of gases which could be extremely harmful. Welding should be performed only while wearing protective goggles. See the following information source.
For technical information, standards and recommendations on safe practices in the use of gases for welding one should check with the Compressed Gas Association.
ARC WELDING equipment and cables should be correctly insulated to avoid dangers of electric shock. Hoses should be checked periodically to correct leaks of water or of argon as applicable.
Aspiration of fumes or gases developing at the welding location should be provided, and adequate ventilation should always bring fresh breathing air to the welder especially when operating in enclosures.
Welding-helmet or welding mask are necessary to shield against visible and also Ultra Violet RADIATION, which is dangerous to the eyes especially in all visible arc processes, but can also cause burns on unprotected skin.
Furthermore, as in a welding place there can be spatter of sparks and incandescent metal drops, eyes and face must be protected by a proper Welding-helmet, hands must wear protective gloves, and the whole body must be covered with suitable accessories like apron and boots. Protective curtains should be put in place to screen the arc from nearby personnel.
High Energy hazards...
Of the High Energy Welding Equipment, ELECTRON BEAM WELDING machines produce high doses of harmful x-rays that the manufacturers are taking care of by providing adequate absorbing materials in the vacuum chamber walls.
Users are sometimes tempted to introduce modifications to enable the welding of items of dimensions exceeding those accommodated by the original equipment: any such modification should be checked with the manufacturer and then the amount of radiation possibly leaking must be assessed against the admissible limits.
LASER welding could be extremely dangerous to the eyesight. All the precautions recommended by the manufacturer should be put in place and strictly enforced.
A wealth of information can be obtained at the Laser Institute.
Safe Use of Lasers
Laser Institute of America / 16-Mar-2007 / 276 pages
On safety issues in general one can view OSHA.
For OSHA standards see:
1910.252 General Requirements, Welding, Cutting, and Brazing ;
1910.253, Oxygen-Fuel Gas Welding and Cutting; and
1910.254, Arc Welding and Cutting.
For a list of documents and of videos on safety you can search for the word "safety" in the CDC website and you can download free from that Site some useful and well explained safety tips.
Also from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), see:
ANSI Z49.1:2005 - Safety in Welding, Cutting and Allied Processes
This Standard can now be downloaded at no cost from:
Also you can download
AWS Safety and Health
An Article on Welding Effects on Health has been published in our Practical Welding Letter No. 07, issue of March 2004.
You can read it by clicking on PWL#007.
An Article on Protective Clothing Care was published (11) in Issue 65 of Practical Welding Letter for January 2009.
Click on PWL#065 to see it.
An Article on California Welding Fume Trial was published (7) in Issue 67 of Practical Welding Letter for March 2009.
Click on PWL#067 to see it.
An Article on Guidelines for Developing a Welding and Cutting Safety Program was published (7) in Issue 87 of Practical Welding Letter for November 2010.
Click on PWL#087 to see it.
An Article on The Dangers of Hexavalent Chromium was published (7) in Issue 88 of Practical Welding Letter for December 2010.
Click on PWL#088 to see it.
An Article on Welding Remote Control for Improved Safety was published (11) in Issue 122 of Practical Welding Letter for October 2013.
Click on PWL#122 to see it.
An Article on Safety in the Workplace was published (11) in Issue 132 of Practical Welding Letter for August 2014.
Click on PWL#132 to see it.
An Article on Inadequate Remedies may fail Fume Control Requirements was published (11) in Issue 154 of Practical Welding Letter for June 2016.
Click on PWL#154.
An Article on Beware of Inadequate Welding Screens was published (11) in Issue 161 of Practical Welding Letter for January 2017.
Click on PWL#161.
An Article on Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields was published (7) in Issue 163 of Practical Welding Letter for March 2017.
Click on PWL#163.
For receiving regularly the Letter as it is published, please subscribe.
Find some interesting links in a special Mid
Month Bulletin Page of our PRACTICAL WELDING LETTER, designed
offer you, our interested readers, the opportunity to search
the web quickly and effectively on the subject of Safety
We urge you to explore this rich source of
Online Resources on Safety, presenting Articles, Standard, Downloads, Links and Information is now
available by clicking on PWL#050B.
Looking for more Online Reference Links? Click on Welding Resources
|Watch the following Video:
Welding Safety Video 2010
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PRACTICAL HARDNESS TESTING MADE SIMPLE.
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Welding-helmet is but one of the elements providing not only Welding Safety to workers and environment but Peace of Mind to all involved. Review here the sources, enforce discipline...