Why is welding safety important in construction?
The construction industry encompasses several different occupations, each of which come with their own safety requirements. One of the most common of these is welding, which literally holds the industry together.
Welding is also one of the most potentially hazardous occupations in the industry, which means it comes with some very important safety requirements that need to be followed. In this checklist, we’ve put together some important things to remember when performing welding or hot work on the jobsite.
What are common welding safety hazards?
These are some of the primary contributing factors to accidents and safety hazards involving welding:
How to weld safely
1. Carefully read all warning labels and relevant documents
Those colorful labels with alarming graphics are there for a reason. As with any potentially hazardous product, all tools employed in a welding project should only be used for the purpose that they were specifically designed for.
2. Conduct welding in a designated safe location
You should only weld in areas that are well ventilated and clear of obstructions. Welding torches use gas, and improper ventilation can lead to a buildup of toxic fumes. Not only can this impact employee health, but it also greatly increases the risk of fires and even explosions.
3. Protect against fire hazards
Welding can send sparks flying, and not in a romantic way. Make sure that your surroundings are free of any flammable objects that could ignite when coming into contact with molten metal or excessive heat.
4. Ensure equipment is well-maintained
A lot can go wrong with welding. That’s why properly maintaining your equipment is absolutely essential. This includes much more than just your torch though–you should also be taking care of your safety belts, scaffolding, and any other equipment in your work area.
5. Use the correct PPE
Because of its unique risks, welding comes with a wide variety of PPE that need to be used, including:
Long pants without cuffs
Boots and gloves
Welding helmets or goggles
Ear muffs or earplugs
6. Make sure workers receive the proper training
Nobody should attempt to weld anything without first receiving the proper training. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or even death, as well as major liability issues.
7. Enforce safety procedures
It’s up to the company to make sure that their employees are adhering to industry standards when it comes to safety in the workplace. This includes cultivating a company culture that promotes safety and accountability.
For a more comprehensive guide, you can refer to OSHA’s informational welding safety page.