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Manufacturing accidents: Welders face various safety hazards

While there is some level of danger to any occupation, welders in Illinois and elsewhere know that the odds of suffering work injuries are significant. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says a significant percentage of welders suffer fatal welding injuries. Manufacturing accidents caused by welding typically result in burn injuries but pose additional hazards that can include death.

The welding process melts metals, exposing the worker to temperatures that are extremely high. Some burn injuries can be minor, and they are typically regarded as par for the course, but others are severe. Due to the sparks usually caused by traditional and arc welding, other hazards exist. The sparks can set some objects in a workshop on fire, such as oil-soaked rags or even a worker's oil covered work clothes. A burning rag can quickly engulf a building in flames.

Along with burn injuries, welders can suffer electric shocks, hearing loss and more. Decades of eyestrain and exposure to the bright sparks of arc welding can cause severe damage to eyes while inhaling the dangerous gases emitted in the welding process can cause respiratory damage. Although welders typically wear helmets or masks to protect their eyes, they provide no protection from the hazardous fumes.

Not all welding injuries follow manufacturing accidents. Damage to eyesight, hearing and the respiratory system can develop over time, and welders may even suffer the worst consequences after they have retired. Injured welders in Illinois can claim benefits from the workers' compensation insurance system, even if the health problems develop later. Some such claims may be complicated, and navigating it may be easier with the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Welding Accidents and Workers' Compensation", George Khoury, Dec. 26, 2016

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