Understanding the possible risks associated with welding and taking the necessary precautions is the first step to safety. To start, welders need flame-resistant apparel to do their jobs safely. Here are the risks of welding without proper FR clothes.

1. Electrocution

The human body is a good electricity conductor. Regardless of the amount, electric shock results in severe health effects. These effects range from burns, spasms, muscle paralysis, and sometimes death. The intensity of the effect depends on the amount of electricity that has passed through your body, which part it has passed through, and how long you’re exposed.

When Can You Get Electrocuted?

A circuit completes through your body if any of the following happens:

  • If you touch a live wire when welding, electricity gets conducted through your body and into the ground.
  • If you incidentally create a bridge between the welding electrode and the workpiece using your hands or any other body part.
  • The electrical contact with the ground increases.
  • If you experience small shocks, which could surprise you making you slip and fall

Electrical Shock Prevention Tips

  • Before you start working, ensure that all electric cables are properly insulated
  • Always use an insulated rod holder
  • Wear protective welding gears which include rubber boots and rubber pads.
  • Do not touch live parts of the workpiece or the welding equipment using bare hands
  • When taking a break, always make sure you turn off the welding transformer.

2. Inhalation of Toxic Fumes and Gases

During welding, various gases get produced, including nitrogen, carbon monoxide, argon, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride. There is also welding fumes containing metals such as arsenic, aluminum, lead, beryllium, and manganese. When these fumes combine, they result in serious health issues if you inhale them.

If exposed to these fumes for a short time, you are likely to experience dizziness, nausea, and eyes, throat, and nose irritation. Long term exposure can lead to lung cancer, urinary tract cancer, damaging the kidney and the nervous system.

How to Protect Yourself Against Toxic Fumes

  • Always weld in a properly ventilated place. The exhaust ports should away from other workers.
  • Where ventilation is inadequate, ensure you wear respiratory protection gear.
  • When welding outdoors, stay on the upwind of the fumes.
  • Reduce toxic fumes exposure levels by cleaning welding surfaces before you weld.

3. Thermal Burns

Welding produces bight flashes and concentrated UV rays. If these come in contact with your exposed skin, they can cause severe burns in an instant. Fortunately, you can lower the risk of getting burnt by wearing the right FR clothes.

FR Clothes to Protect You From Thermal Burns

When buying FR clothes, avoid those made from synthetic materials since they can catch fire. Instead, consider welding leather jackets as they offer protection against sparks. You also have a choice between light and warm welding jackets depending on the climate in your area.

You also need a pair of leather welder’s gloves to protect your hands. Different types of welding gloves are made using different types of leather. The best is the one that can protect you against sparks, spatters, and the heat emitted when welding.

4. Fire and Explosions

The intense heat and the sparks produced when welding are potential fire and explosion hazards in welding. However, you can lower the risk by carrying out an inspection of the welding area and removing any flammable material or substance. If it’s not possible to move the substance, you should move your workstation to a safer place.

Your welding station should have class fire extinguisher since electrical sparks are most likely to cause the fire. Fire hoses should be easily accessible with enough water pressure. Other important gears include fire resistant blankets, sand buckets, or any other reasonable firefighting equipment.

5. Flash Burns

Welder’s flash accounts for 5.6% of all eye injuries in the construction industry, making it the most common. Flash burns result from the radiation and strong light produced during welding. Debris that flies from the weld can also result in these burns.

A welder’s helmet protects you from this intense light. Ensure that your helmet has the appropriate filter shade depending on the type of welding. In case you don’t have a helmet, ensure you put on goggles or shades with side shields.

6. Noise Hazards

Welding produces a lot of noise which can result in loss of hearing with long-term exposure. You can minimize the risk by wearing earplugs, especially if exposed to the noise for over 8 hours.

The earplugs in the market today are more advanced, making them more comfortable and help provide higher levels of hearing protection.

If working in an overhead position, consider using ear muffs. These have the advantage of being comfortable when worn under the helmet. They also cover the ear, protecting you from sparks that may harm your ear canal.

7. Working in Confined Spaces

Working in confined spaces increases some welding hazards if proper precautions aren’t observed. These hazards include;

  • Fumes
  • Falls and entrapment
  • Fire explosion
  • Electrical
  • Heat and radiation

Before working in enclosed spaces, ensure you have the right training, properly equipped, and wearing the right FR clothes.

8. Exposure to UV Radiation

There are certain UV radiations produced during welding that can result in welder’s eye or the arc eye. This eye injury inflames the mucous membrane of the eye resulting into;

  • Redding of the eye
  • Mild or intense pain depending on the extent of exposure
  • Having a sensation like you have sand in the eyes
  • Hard time looking at a light source
  • Sensitivity to light

You can protect yourself from UV radiation by ensuring you put on a welder’s helmet and goggles.

9. Compressed Gases

Welding uses many types of gases that are confined in gas cylinders. If not properly stored, these cylinders can cause fire hazards or physical hazards. If the gas cylinder valve gets damaged, it can lead to an explosive release of gas.

Wearing the Right FR Clothes Increases FR Safety

Although the above risks seem intense, you can protect yourself by wearing FR clothes when working. By wearing protective gear, you are also complying with the set regulations. Avoid unnecessary accidents by ensuring you have the right welding gear.

If you like to reinforce your welding FR safety, visit our online shop and have a look at the variety of PPE we have.