According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 41 welders killed at work during 2018 and another 370 suffered injuries requiring time off. To give some context, 80 electricians and 259 construction laborers died in workplace accidents during the same period. While welding accidents are not that frequent, one could still happen to you with severe consequences.
Employers must provide adequate training to welders
To the outsider, welding may seem simple, yet it is a highly skilled trade. Your employer must ensure you have the skills and training you need to stay safe on the job.
What are the 5 main hazards welders face?
While welders face the same risks as anyone else at the sites they work, such as a slip and fall, they also face a particular set of dangers related to the job they do:
- Fire and explosion: Workplaces are full of flammable materials. Ensure these are out of the way before you weld. If there are gas or oxygen bottles, move these too, to avoid the chance of explosion.
- Burns: You need protective clothing in good condition to prevent the risk of burns.
- Radiation: You should use a welders helmet and eyeglasses to prevent the chance of arc eye, causing temporary blindness or eye pain.
- Electricity: Welding requires electricity. If the cables become damaged, you could receive an electric shock.
- Fumes and gases: Applying heat to metals or weld material can release noxious fumes. The gases used to power your tools can also be dangerous if there is not adequate ventilation and protection such as respirators provided. Medical experts have linked welding to Parkinson’s Disease, pneumonia and fertility issues, among other problems.
If you suffer injury or illness working as a welder, you will need legal help to claim compensation. Your employer should hold workers’ compensation insurance to cover you.