Welding is a job that presents numerous hazards to workers in California each year. Workers on welding jobs can minimize these risks by adhering to the safety measures put in place for their protection. Proper training, equipment inspection and worker safety training are all ways to decrease the risks from hazards. It also helps to make sure the worker understands where these hazards exist in the first place.
A major reason for workers’ compensation claims on welding sites is exposure to gases and fumes. This exposure can cause several health hazards that include cancer, respiratory illnesses and impaired speech. Making sure there is adequate ventilation in a workspace and wearing an approved respirator is usually enough to protect a worker from fumes. A supervisor should also make themselves available to check worker concerns regarding potentially dangerous fumes.
Physical hazards in the workplace of welders can result in cuts, burns and damage to the eyes. A helmet and a pair of goggles will help to protect from the sparks, chemicals and flashing lights that are responsible for much of the threat. Clothing that is resistant to fire and electricity can also help. Ear protection is necessary if the noise level on a worksite reaches the point of danger.
The risk of electrical shock perhaps represents the most serious and immediate danger to a welder. One way to minimize this risk is to inspect all welding equipment as well as the electrode holder before each use. It will also help to use the lockout-tagout policies in the workplace and allow the repair of equipment to be completed only by a qualified technician.
Flammable materials are commonplace in welding work environments, and maintaining a clean workplace will minimize some of this risk. Workers should also know where all the fire alarms and emergency exits are in the workplace. Fire safety protocol includes keeping a fire extinguisher close when performing welding work, employing a fire watcher to track sparks and observing a welding area for half an hour after finishing work.
An injury in the workplace can cause pain, suffering and the need for extended recovery time to the worker. Workplace injuries can also negatively affect the ability of the worker to support themselves and their families. Individuals who have suffered a workplace injury may be able to secure the compensation they deserve by consulting with an experienced attorney.