Welding ranks among the most in-demand and well paid skilled trades, and there is no doubt welding can be a lucrative career. You can make an excellent income and live a great life as a welder. These rewards, however, come with a price. Welding is serious business and has the potential to be a very dangerous trade. Ultimately, a successful career in welding comes down to one thing: SAFETY. And the mantra of a good welder is always: Safety First!
Whether you have 10 years on the job, or are brand new to the trade, you can still be careless and make a mistake that results in a serious injury, or could even kill you, or someone you’re working with. That’s why every good welder always says: Safety First!
The following is a 4 item safety checklist that you should follow every time you step on a job site.
Safety begins the moment you arrive at the job site. Knowing your environment inside-and-out is imperative to safe and successful welding. The first thing you should do when you step on any job site is identify safety hazards or issue of concern, and take steps to eliminate, or minimize those concerns.
- Never weld in an area with wood floors unless completely covered with fire resistant materials.
- Make sure all other potentially flammable materials have been removed from your work area.
- A fire extinguisher should be at arms leg, so when if you need it, you can just reach out and grab it!
- Make sure your welding area is well venerated. Toxic gases can build up and make you sick, and can potentially be fatal.
- Avoid water—Shielded Arc Welding uses a live (and powerful) electric current, and you can receive a very dangerous shock.
Knowing your equipment inside-and-out is second only to knowing your environment.
- You should have a thorough understanding of how your equipment works, including reading the manual, to learn how to make setting adjustments and properly control your equipment.
- If you’re on a job site, and need to use equipment you’re unfamiliar with, always take time to learn and understand the new equipment before you start welding.
- Make sure you understand the requirements of a particular job, and the way the equipment will react under those conditions.
Proper maintenance to ensure your equipment functions correctly and safely is imperative to safe and successful welding.
- Acetylene gas canisters must be properly stored and regulators need regular calibration to ensure their output actually matches the cansiters gage readings.
- Arc welding circuits must be properly ground and the filler rods need to be sized perfectly for the material being welded.
Many shops and companies require a specific uniform, but regardless of whether you’re wearing a uniform or following your own dress code, selecting proper clothing is very important for welding safety.
- No pants with cuffs—flying sparks and hot mental can light your pants on fire.
- Leather aprons and bibs, and leather gloves protect your body and hands from sparks and flying metal.
Safety gear is your first line of defense against many welding hazards, and very important for your personal protection during the welding process.
- Welding helmets (or hoods) protect your head and neck from the flying sparks and spatters of hot metal while you’re welding.
- The helmet also includes a shielded glass view screen that minimizes UV exposure and protects your eyes from flash burns that can permanently damage your vision.
- Depending on the particular job site, a hardhat may be required, and for good reason, as object may be falling from above!
Welding can be the gateway to a fantastic career and a great life, just remember the good welder’s mantra: Safety First!