Welding and metal fabrication are practices with safety precautions that workers need to abide by in order to ensure their safety and the quality of their work. Accidents in a workshop are quite common, especially because the main equipment used for metal fabrication are those that manipulate heat and electricity. If the electrode of a welding machine can produce enough heat to melt the surface of steel and aluminum, they can very well do as much damage to the surface of your skin and other nearby objects. Injuries can range from small burns to electrocution, which can even result in death in some cases. For this reason it is imperative that you check the hazards that may be present in your station before beginning any form of work.
Topweld General Engineering is a premier metal fabrication company that provides welding services in New South Wales, Australia. In our many years of experience, we’ve identified several safety precautions that we strongly believe should be observed by all of our workers. They have been compiled in a short list of do’s and don’ts below.
DO… Clean the Workpiece and the Floor Before Working
Cleaning the workpiece metal removes contaminants that may otherwise interfere with the welding process. Rust, dirt, paint, and other substances can contribute to increased porosity, which weakens the overall durability of the weld. Some substances may also react violently to the heat, which puts the welder at risk of burns. Use a fine grit sandpaper of around 300 grit and a steel brush to clean the weld. In cases where the contaminants are especially difficult, pouring acetone can also help. It can also help reduce splatter during stick welding.
DO… Check If All of Your Welding Equipment Are in Good Condition
Conduct a visual inspection of your welding equipment for any damages, particularly the power supply and the cables attached to it. Make sure none of the cables have exposed wirings and that the plugs are all inserted into their correct sockets. You may also conduct a hands-on inspection by testing the machine on a few pieces of scrap metal. Check for any unusual noises, or other irregularities while doing so. If you notice something odd with your equipment, consult an electrician who can take a look at the machine for you. This step in welding is especially important if you are conducting sheet metal fabrication, as the material is very susceptible to burning through and warping if the voltage is incorrectly set.
DO… Wear All the Necessary Safety Equipment
The basic safety equipment a welder should wear consists of a welding helmet, welding goggles, industry-grade rubber or leather gloves, flame-resistant apron or suit, work boots, and a respirator. If you are still learning how to weld, additional safety equipment is encouraged as long as they don’t obstruct your vision or restrict your movement too much. You may also need to remove accessories like your watch as they can get damaged by the electrical discharge or molten splatter that the weld may produce. Topweld also provides stainless steel welding and fabrication in Orange, NSW, Australia, and they make sure that their welders and fabricators are in compliance to the safety regulations and knowledgeable about the safety equipment.
DO… Keep Your Welding Machine Properly Grounded
In order for you to strike an arc with your workpiece and begin welding, you need to create a complete electrical circuit with your machine and the base metals. Proper grounding ensures that the current doesn’t arc out wildly from the circuit, causing damage to other electric appliances and even putting the welder at risk of electrocution. It is widely recommended by professionals in the fabricated metal industry to keep the grounding clamp close to the area where the weld will be performed, in a clean spot with enough space to hold it firmly in place.
DON’T… Weld in an Unventilated Area
The process of welding releases different kinds of gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone into the air. These gases pose a serious respiratory health risk when enough are inhaled, or if they fill up a confined area. One such example is during stainless steel fabrication, where the process of welding stainless steel turns chromium into its hexavalent state, which is incredibly toxic when inhaled. For that reason, it is imperative that you are always working in a well-ventilated area.
DON’T… Work Without an Accessible Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are mandatory whenever you work with tools that produce extreme temperatures such as a welding machine. It is also important to remove any and all combustible materials or flammable liquids near your workstation before you begin welding because the sparks that fly off from a weld can easily ignite them. Fire can often be unpredictable when you are too engrossed in your work, so taking your time to identify potential fire hazards and remove them is always advisable.
Last but not least, DON’T… Cut Corners
Regardless of the nature of your work, whether you are conducting stainless steel or aluminum welding, sheet metal or tubing, cutting corners is never a good idea. Make sure your workstation is always in its best condition, and bring any irregularities you notice to the attention of your supervisor. A safe welding environment is certain to produce higher-quality welds, so it is never a good idea to skip out on safety just to try and get the job done faster. For professional stainless steel and aluminum fabrication solutions, contact Topweld General Engineering, where the safety of our workers and the quality of our welds go hand-in-hand in every project we work on.