MIG welding is a popular type of welding. Like all kinds of welding, there are some aspects of it that can be dangerous to your health. All forms of welding can lead to injuries and sometimes death. The main points of MIG welding safety that you have to remember are to protect every bit of your skin from the UV light, closing your eyes will not prevent arc eye, work in areas that are well ventilated and use extraction fans (blowing fans will blow shielding gas away from where it is needed), wear a vapor mask if needed, and be careful to never have flammable things near your work area as grinding and welding sparks are able to travel quite a distance.
One aspect of MIG welding safety is to protect your eyes. The light that is produced from this kind of welding is very bright and you will suffer from arc eye – where the cornea is burned from the bright flash of the arc – even if you look at the arc for a very short amount of time. This is because the cornea of your eye is extremely sensitive to sun burn, and the UV (ultra violet) light that is produced from the welding process is the same kind of light as what causes sun burn. This is why you also need to protect your skin. If you get arc eye, you can expect to be awake all night long feeling like someone is sticking sharp pins into your eye.
If you wear a full welding mask, then the light that is reflected can cause arc eye. It is not just the light that is reflected off the front of the welding mask. If you weld in a room that has walls painted white and weld there all day long, that is enough to cause arc eye. Welders caps can help with arc eye as well as sparks. Make sure you warn anyone who is in the area when you are getting ready to start welding and use a screen if there are going to be passersby.
Another aspect you need to be aware of where MIG welding safety is concerned is vapors. The welding process produces metal vapors. Fumes from zinc coatings and aluminum alloy vapor are poisonous and you can get heavy metal poisoning from these. You can also be poisoned by the fumes from ARC welding and flux cored gasless wire. MIG welding often gives off ozone vapors. The effects from these vapors is cumulative and will build up in your body. Always work in areas that are well-ventilated to avoid damage from these gases.
When you are welding, molten metal can actually spit several feet away from your weld. Be aware of your surroundings before you begin to work so that you can avoid having fires. Sawdust, plastic or paper bags all can go up in flames easily and are also things that are easily missed. You may not even realize that there is a fire because when you are looking through a visor, any fire will not appear bright and you won’t be alarmed. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times. A CO2 one is the best for welding and a bucket of sand is also a good thing to have.