Welding can be a risky job. Therefore, having the best work practices and taking safety seriously is primary importance. So, learning what you should and shouldn’t do when welding helps produce a robust and quality weld every time without injuring yourself. In addition, taking extra Safety Precautions in Welding metal will ensure everyone around you stays safe in the workshop.
Beginners are usually keen to get started and begin fusing pieces of metal together. But before picking up an arc welder to weld metal, it is vital to know what not to do when welding.
This article has the top five tips on what not to do when welding. But, first, it’s crucial to learn why welding safety procedures are so vital.
What Safety Precautions Should Welders Use
The welding process presents many potential hazards. Therefore, welders should never forget to identify and avoid these hazards. Understanding the importance of safety guidelines can help prevent injury and damage to welding equipment.
High voltage, extreme temperatures, gas cylinders, and hot metal are some of the risk factors involved. Unfortunately, a lack of concentration can result in a severe welding accident.
According to Occupational Health & Safety, the hazards involved in welding include the following:
- Electric shock from the high voltage in electrical equipment
- Toxic fumes from gas welding fluxes
- Injuries from not wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Interestingly, most welders understand the risks involved with operating welding equipment. However, one study revealed a gap in knowledge about the hazards and using PPE. It found that welders who were well educated in the risks associated with welding were more likely to take appropriate safety precautions.
What Should You Not Do When Welding?
Before starting to weld stainless steel or other metals, there are certain things to avoid. For example, you shouldn’t work in clutter and must have all your tools, equipment, and welding accessories in place. Additionally, you shouldn’t forget to dress appropriately. Of course, welding clothing can be bulky, but it can prevent serious injury.
Dos and don’ts for Welding
Dos for welding
- Thoroughly check the area for flammable materials
- Ensure flammable liquids, gasses, and combustible materials are safely stored away
- Check that all electrical equipment is installed correctly
- Uncoil hoses before starting
- Store oxygen cylinders and acetylene cylinders at least 20 feet apart
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand and buckets of sand
- Always have the proper safety gear and work in a well-ventilated area
- Never have any exposed skin when welding
Don’ts for welding
- Don’t overload an electrical circuit when using a MIG welder
- Avoid using cheap welding accessories like clamps, welding pliers, welding guns
- Don’t connect the welding machine to the power source before checking everything is prepared
- Never forget to put on the appropriate safety gear, including a respirator
- Don’t use a gas mixture that isn’t recommended or the incorrect electrode gauge
- Never use a shielding gas flow rate that is more or less than is required
- Do not forget to take regular breaks to stretch if you spend the whole day welding
What Should You Not Do When Welding — Top Five Tips
Before starting on a welding project, it’s crucial to take the time to ensure you have everything in place. It is necessary to have the proper safety gear, good ventilation, and a stable workbench for welding. It is also good to plan ahead and have all the welding accessories to hand.
1. Don’t Weld Without the Appropriate Safety Gear
It can be a serious mistake to forget to use the proper safety equipment and gear. So never think that safety glasses, the welding helmet, safety boots, and fire-resistant clothing will slow you down. On the contrary, these welding accessories may save your life.
Here are a few reasons why the appropriate safety gear is crucial:
- Welding helmet: This protects the welder’s face from flying sparks, and the lens protects eyesight from intense UV radiation. In some cases, coated safety goggles is enough if no sparks are flying around.
- Flame-resistant welding clothing: It’s crucial to have welding gloves and fire-resistant clothing to eliminate any fire risk. Also, ensure that flammable materials are well away from the weld area.
- Protection from electrocution: Insulated clothing and safety boots will minimize the risk of electric shock and prevent injury to welders.
- Foot protection: Safety boots should not just have a good grip and protect from electrocution, but also they should prevent slag from getting into the footwear.
2. Don’t Weld in Poorly Ventilated Areas
Never forget the importance of adequate ventilation when welding. When the welding arc creates the weld puddle, harmful fumes get released. This happens because chemical reactions occur when the hot metal melts in arc welding. So, the workspace must be adequately ventilated. This could be achieved by using a fan, exhaust system, or exhaust hood.
3. Don’t Forget to Preheat the Metal before Welding
A common welding mistake is not preheating the pieces of metal before welding. It’s necessary to heat around the weld joint and the actual joint to the required temperature. Then, there is less moisture in the weld during the cooling process, and you reduce the risk of cracking.
Incorrect preheating can also result in a cold weld or weld failure.
4. Never Weld on Unstable Surfaces
One thing never to do when welding is to weld on an uneven or wobbly surface. It’s crucial to ensure that the welding table is sturdy and large enough to safely support the sheet metal or other pieces of metal for welding. Additionally, it’s essential to use the appropriate welding clamps to secure metal objects in place while you weld.
5. Don’t Forget to Keep Welding Equipment in Good Working Order
Welding equipment, especially inverter MIG welders, are precision instruments with several working parts. In addition, environments for welding tend to be dirty and dusty, which can interfere with the welding machine’s operation. Therefore, always keep the welding equipment well maintained.
Also, if you notice any signs that the welding equipment is damaged, like frayed wires, never start welding until the issue is resolved correctly.
Safety Precautions in Welding — In Conclusion
Welding can be a highly satisfying profession that requires precision skills. However, it’s crucial to remember what to avoid if you want to enjoy a successful career or have fun with a welding hobby. The primary thing that welders should avoid is forgetting about safety regulations. Using the right safety gear and adhering to guidelines for safe operation will ensure you avoid serious injury when welding.