Safety should always be your first consideration before you begin any style of welding, and arc welding is no exception. We'll go through the 13 most important arc welding safety tips to make sure you're having a great experience with your arc welder. Let's talk first about what makes arc welding, arc welding.
What is Arc Welding?
Arc welding is the process used to join two metals by using electricity. Electricity is used because it creates a lot of heat, thus melting the metals and allowing them to join together once they cool down.
One of the most common types of arc welding is shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or stick welding. An electric current is used to strike an arc between the base material and a consumable electrode rod or 'stick'.
Arc Welding Safety Tips
Here are some safety tips to consider during this welding process:
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Be aware of the federal, state, and local codes concerning welding.
- Make sure that you are using the right arc welder. It should have a seal approval from the appropriate organizations. Since we are in the US, an appropriate organization would be the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
- You should make sure that the welder is properly installed.
- Do not overuse your welder. Overuse of a welder causes it to overheat and thus malfunction or cause a fire. Constant maintenance should also ensure that all parts of the welder are working properly and no cables are worn or frayed.
- As mentioned earlier, plasma arc welding produces a lot of heat, meaning that they use a lot of voltage to do so. Consequently, you need to make sure that your electrical outlet can support this amount of voltage. Failure to do this would mean a machine failure, a fire and problems with the State by the set laws.
- Welding should always be done in a properly ventilated area. Some of the materials being welded produce toxic fumes which are harmful not only to the person welding but to the people close by as well. Examples of such materials are rod fluxes and other materials containing elements of zinc, cadmium, and mercury. Also, without proper ventilation, the person welding could collapse, and such an incident could be fatal.
- The area in which the welding is one should be fireproof. The first way of doing this would be to make structural and design changes to the area. These changes include doing things like advancing the arc welding technique and making sure the floor is concrete to avoid sparking and using fire-resistant curtains. When such changes cannot be made, then it is highly advisable to move combustible materials away from the site of welding.
- Do not allow a plasma arc welding electrode to touch any cylinder due to their high likelihood to explode. Make sure that all cylinders are firmly secured in an upright position.
- The person doing the welding should always have the appropriate safety gear at all times.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes around the area where the welding is being done.
- If the welder happens to break down, do any repairs or maintenance after the engine has stopped running.
- Keep your limbs, clothing and any other thing away from the moving parts.
List of Recommended Welding Safety Gear:
- Earplug or muffs when the noise is high
- Leather safety boots
- Leather gloves.
- Safety glasses or a welding helmet with a cover plate: the cover plate's opaqueness is important and dependent on the kind of materials being welded.
- Respirators for protection from the toxic perfumes
- Do not operate the welder if any of your clothing is wet.
- A person who uses a pacemaker is advised not to do the welding.
In case of anything, despite the mentioned precautions and preventative measures, always make sure that a first aid kit is readily available, a fire blanket, a fire extinguisher and that the welder or the people in the work area know procedures that can be done on victims to save lives before any medical help arrives.