How to keep safe while welding

Whether you work for yourself or a multi-million pound engineering construction company, welding fumes can cause serious hazards and health problems for welders – making it important that you’re aware of the risks welding poses, and fully understand what precautions you can take to protect yourself.

5 top safety tips:

  1. Training

Before you even start welding, you need to undertake adequate training to ensure health and safety. Training will educate you on how to use equipment correctly and what to do to ensure compliance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

MaxiFil Clean Welding Smoke Filter Unit in action

  1. Breathe clean air

Good ventilation is key when welding. Welding fumes can accumulate in confined spaces – having a detrimental effect on your health. Welding fume extraction, at the source, will remove hazardous particles quickly and efficiently, making sure the air you breathe is clean.

A welding fume extractor, like the ones Defuma supply, will ensure optimum conditions. They are the UK’s leading supplier of air filtration technology and provide a wide range of welding fume extraction units, including multi-extraction arms, bespoke systems and fume enclosures. Defuma also offers on-going servicing and maintenance to make sure systems function properly.

Be aware that depending on the material you’re welding, you may need respirators to maximise safety too.

  1. Read the manual

Even if you’re an experienced welder, well acquainted with different extractors, it still makes sense to familiarise yourself with the operating manual. In here, you’ll find safety guidelines amongst other vital information about how to maximise the capability of each specific welding fume extractor.

If you can’t find the manual, for whatever reason, try looking online and download and print it. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer and request a replacement.

  1. Wear the appropriate PPE

Exposed skin is at risk of damage from sparks, spatter and heat, so you need to wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including:

  • welding helmets
  • respirators
  • fire-resistant clothing
  • ear protection
  • boots
  • gloves

Top tip: always wear a welding helmet and never roll up your sleeves or tuck your trousers into your boots as sparks could get caught in the folds and smoulder, resulting in severe burns. You also need to wear the right PPE if you’re in the vicinity of another welder and stay behind the welding curtain to protect yourself against the intensity of the radiation produced.

  1. Avoid looking directly at the welding arc’s ray

‘Arc eye’ is a painful condition that occurs after unprotected eyes have been exposed to a welding arc’s ray.

The best way to avoid ‘arc eye’ is to wear a well-fitted welding helmet that has a filter shade to protect the face and eyes (whether you’re welding or watching). You can also protect your eyes and ears under the helmet by wearing safety glasses and ear protection.

For more information about how to keep safe while welding and eliminating the risk of weld fumes, feel free to contact the Defuma experts on 01480 455 466 or send an email to enquiries@defuma.co.uk. They will be more than happy to offer advice and guidance.

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