Professional welders went through all the stages of learning their craft, including safe welding and the handling of welding materials and equipment. Unfortunately, the amateur welder has not had the opportunity to study under a Master Welder and this makes for a dangerous undertaking. Welding is by no means one of the safest professions in the world and if you are about to embark on a DIY welding project with little or no experience, please take a few moments to read these safety tips for amateur welders. Believe it or not, your life could depend on it.
Safe Transporting of Gases and Pressurised Tanks
As you probably know from your school years, gases are nothing to play with. The smallest spark can ignite the hugest explosion, and BOOM you are gone in a cloud of smoke. Make sure that when transporting oxygen and acetylene cylinders you do so with utmost care to avoid accident. Acetylene is particularly volatile & must be kept upright when transported either in a vehicle or around your site. Invest in a cylinder trolley to ensure safe transportation & make sure cylinders are chained in. As for pressurised tanks, make sure you ONLY transport them with the safety cap in place. Should the valve get jarred, you could experience a major explosion and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
The Importance of Safety Gear
According to Foster Industrial, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of everything welding, from equipment to safety gear, there is a reason for each and every piece of gear you’ll need. Welding helmets with an auto darkeninglens protect your eyes from damage from the extreme brightness of the welding arc. Many beginner welders have suffered arc eye in one or both eyes due to carelessness in leaving their helmet on the work bench when striking an arc or watching others. There is no real treatment for arc eye & although eye drops can be administered, it may take up to 36 hours for symptoms to clear.
Also, that welders jacket you are wearing? It has kept many a welder protected from stray sparks that may damage clothing or burn skin. Indeed, make sure your whole body is covered to protect against radiation burns.
Working in Enclosed Tanks – Ensure Proper VENTILATION
You should always ensure proper ventilation or the result will not be pleasant, although you probably won’t be around to notice it. When working with either a TIG or a MIG welder you will be working with argon – a colourless, odourless inert gas that is about twice as heavy as the air you breathe. When working in an enclosed space it will quickly fill the room and before you know it you will be out cold and most likely gone forever.
Electricity and Water Don’t Mix
One last safety tip for amateur welders is something you probably already know but maybe need to be reminded of? Electric shock is a real threat as welding machines are connected to the mains supply. It’s not just water that is a problem. Ensure that your earth cable is in good condition & that welding cables can carry the current capacity of the machine.
These are just a few basic safety tips to be aware of, but they can save you from life changing injuries. Although it may seem a bit overboard and gruesome, the reality is that welding improperly without attention to safety has been known to kill a welder or two! See to safety before starting out and all should be well.