Many metal fabrication, automotive, construction and aerospace manufacturers using welding equipment to make their products. Here are two ways that these manufacturers can prevent their employees from being injured or from developing serious health conditions as a result of using welding equipment.
Do not allow untrained individuals to operate the equipment
Welding is a complex activity which requires a considerable amount of skill to do correctly and safely. As such, an untrained individual who has little to no experience with welding is likely to make an error which could potentially lead to them being injured.
For example, a person who has not undergone the appropriate training may not realise how dangerous it is to allow their eyes to be exposed to the ultraviolet radiation that is generated by the welding process.
As a result of this lack of knowledge, they may attempt to use the welding equipment without wearing a protective eye shield. This could result in a condition commonly known as 'arc eye', where the individual's corneas become extremely inflamed.
Likewise, an inexperienced employee may not be aware of how dangerous it is to touch a section of the electrical circuit (such as the electrodes or the cables) whilst their body is in contact with the metal they are welding; this could result in them being electrocuted.
Given this, it is critical for manufacturers who have welding equipment on their premises to ensure that only those who have received adequate training are allowed to use this equipment.
Install ventilation in the welding area
It can be very dangerous for employees who use welding equipment to inhale the fumes generated by the welding process. These fumes contain a wide range of potentially toxic substances, including microscopic base metal, metal oxide, silicate and fluoride particles.
Long-term exposure to these fumes can cause damage to a person's nervous system and kidneys. It can also result in lung diseases and stomach ulcers.
As such, manufacturers should make sure that the areas of their facilities in which welding activities take place have powerful ventilation systems, which will extract these toxic fumes from the air before they can inflict harm on the employees who are operating the welding equipment.
Additionally, any individual who is tasked with using welding equipment should be provided with a high-quality respiratory mask, which will further reduce the amount of fumes that they end up inhaling as they perform their work.