If you’re good with your hands, a career in welding and fabrication could be the perfect fit. With solid prospects and challenging, satisfying work, the need for skilled workers is on the rise in this field. However, even if you’ve got some welding experience under your belt before you sign up at technical training schools, it never hurts to know some essential safety tips when working with metal.
• Always wear protective gear: This may seem obvious, but many workplace accidents and injuries can be prevented by wearing the proper safety gear. Make sure that you’ve got on a protective faceplate or welding goggles before you start work, and always dress appropriately. This includes garments like gloves, overalls and a welding apron.
Similarly, make sure your welding helmet is equipped with the proper filter shade. If it isn’t, you run the risk of “arc flash,” a condition caused by the intense bright sparks created by welding. Arc flash doesn’t always manifest any symptoms until several hours after exposure, so protect your eyes and ensure your visor is filtered properly.
• Know your equipment: Once you’ve finished your welding training program, you might know how to operate a variety of different equipment, including arc, tungsten inert gas (TIG) and metal inert gas (MIG) welding gear. However, before you get to work, make sure you know exactly how to operate the equipment you’re expected to use. If in doubt, talk to the shop steward about your responsibilities.
• Work in well-ventilated areas: This one is sometimes overlooked by new welders. Any time you work with metals at high temperatures, a range of gases are produced that can be hazardous to health. Always ensure you’re working in an area with plenty of ventilation and air flow. Certain types of welding, including TIG and MIG, can produce argon, a colorless, odorless gas that can be lethal in enclosed spaces.
• Ensure your work space is clear: When you’re working with heavy equipment and machinery, the last thing you want to do is trip over something on your way to the break room. Before you start welding, ensure your work space is clear of clutter and that all tools, equipment and safety gear is stored properly.
• Know your exits and safety protocols: Depending on where you end up working when you complete your welding training program, safety procedures will differ. However, no matter where you work, make sure you know exactly how to get out of the building in the event of a fire. Likewise, you should know where gear like fire extinguishers and flashlights are in case of an emergency.
Most of these tips may seem obvious, but knowing how to work with metal safely and responsibly separates a good welder from a great one. These tips should be covered in detail by any decent welding training program.
Do you have any personal safety tips that could benefit aspiring welders? Let us know in the comment space below.
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