Weld My World - Welding News

Welding Safety Tips: The Hazards of Welding Sparks


Many say that welding is not a glamorous job. I say otherwise. The workspace is filled with hard work, sweat, grease and of course, danger. In fact, when welders describe their workspace, it often sounds like the set of a James Bond movie.

In the real world, however, there are serious consequences to improper safety protocol that could cause long term damage such as severe burns, nerve damage and even sometimes death. 

Practically anything that has ever been written about welding comes with an illustration or picture of welding sparks. I don’t think a photographer can go into the welding workspace without taking a picture of a welding mask shrouded in iridescent sparks.

Despite their appearance, these sparks can easily cause fires, such as this factory fire on Monday. While welders do a great job of containing these fires, there have been many deaths related to sparks.

The following are some tips and safe welding techniques to avoid the negative consequences of sparks.

Never weld near combustibles. Never weld on drums, barrels or tanks that have or have had any combustible items in them. No matter how much you clean them, there is still a possibility that they could cause an explosion. Remember that sparks can travel further than you think.

Wear proper welding gloves.

Wear a proper welding helmet to protect your face and eyes. If you’re doing a wide variety of welds and different intensities, consider getting an auto-darkening helmet.

Weld on a firebrick or concrete floor. These substances are fire resistant and will ensure that any fire that breaks out will not spread.

Install spark curtains that will stop any fires from spreading. They will also absorb the sparks without igniting.

Fill any cracks in the floor that appear with concrete or another fire-resistance building material. Sparks can fall into a crack and may ignite if the crack is deep enough to expose potential flammable under flooring.

Never point your welding device so that the sparks will fall on any wires. This is the surest way to start an electrical fire, which is often difficult to control and contain.

Keep a tidy workspace. It is amazing how combustible and flammable simple objects, such as a plastic bag or even a teaspoon-sized amount of sawdust can be.

If I’ve left anything out of my tips list, leave us a comment with your tip to avoiding the hazards of sparks.

Happy, and safe, welding!



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.