The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that each day approximately 2000 workers in the United States sustain injuries to their eyes. The organization further reports that welders are among the injured, as they are placed at a high risk of receiving ultraviolet radiation burns to their eyes and surrounding tissue. When working in a welding shop, specific safety rules should be followed to help minimize accidents and injuries.
When to Weld
Welding should commence only when all the shop-mandated safety measures are in place. Do not weld by yourself, as if an accident or injury occurs you will need someone to help you control the situation. Impaired workers should never operate a welding machine as it can block your ability to think and act quickly.The term "impaired" also includes workers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, too tired and too frantic.
Shops required their employees to wear certain safety clothing when welding. Protective eyewear, steel-toe boots, gloves and respirators are just some of the clothing that is required when working in a welding shop. Note that wearing contact lenses when welding is an unsafe practice as the lens can damage your eye when exposed to the intense light. Before working in any welding shop, ask the supervisor for the company’s specific clothing requirements.
Before welding it is essential to check that loose clothes, jewelry and hair are all secured or tied back. Since welding machines reach extremely hot temperatures any objects that come in contact with the flame can melt, burn or ignite a fire.
A crucial safety rule when working in a welding shop is the wearing of a protective mask. Protective masks cover the entire face and are equipped with ultraviolet ray protection for your eyes. Shop rules mandate that a welder is not to use a cutter until the mask is covering his face and eyes. Failure to use a protective mask can result in severe eye injuries and burns.
Welding shops have strict clean-up requirements. After each project is completed, welders should clean the area and ensure that all tools are returned to their allocated place. This helps limit injuries when welding, as it will reduce the risk of shop employees falling or tripping over other tools or objects. Before leaving your area at the end of your shift it is important to have the shop supervisor or a co-worker check that your area is secure and safe.
- Photo Credit welder image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com
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