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Welding is inherently a dangerous job. Before you start any welding projects, there are some things that you should do first. These are important not just for your own safety, but for the safety of others and the success of your work. It is important to make these a habit, as you gain more experience with the art of welding it is important that you do not become complacent. We often see injuries in some of the most experience welders and this is commonly due to becoming to relaxed with some of the very basic safety practices.
These initial safety practices should be performed even before you touch your welder, try to make them a routine that you follow on a daily basis. We have organised them into what we feel is the most practical and sensible order (1).
Check your Work Area and Make Sure it is Clean and Safe
Welding produces a wide variety of hazards. You want to make sure that your work area is safe for all of these potential dangers. The first potential hazard is one that is often overlooked, it is the amount of fumes that are created from the process of welding. It is very important that your work area is well ventilated before you start your work. This may include making sure that any windows are open or if you have a ventilation system that it is turned on and in good operating order. Make sure that if you are a beginner welder that you keep your head away from the fumes.
Keeping your work area clean is extremely important. Cleanliness is king, this is vital for your safety and the safety of fellow workers. It is also very important for the quality of your workmanship. Having clean welding surfaces will help to reduce any potential errors with your welds. Things like debris, grease and dirt can potentially contaminate and affect the quality of your weld.
Set up your consumables with care. Consumables include contact tips, diffusers, nozzle’s, collet bodies among others. For your safety and the quality of your workmanship it is important that these are extremely secure. This helps to prevent any form of leakage and will help to reducer the risk of any accidents.
Assess Your Equipment
Make sure that you are accustomed with the equipment that you will be using. With the advancement of welding technology and plasma cutters there has been some subtle changes to the way some machines function. If you are using a new machine or someone else’s machine make sure that you are familiar with the way that it operates.
Double check that all of your equipment is in good working order. This includes checking your safety equipment such as your gloves and helmet. Pay particular attention to the condition of your welder. Things such as wiring and hoses can deteriorate over time. Do a full visual inspection of your machine before you start any welding.
Do not ever weld without wearing all the necessary protective gear. This includes welding helmet and safety glasses, welding shirts, gloves, and respirators. Do not just use any gear, however. We believe that getting good quality safety equipment is a very worthwhile investment. Ensure that the materials you buy are of top quality. There is a range of good quality safety equipment that is also very affordable.
We have put the time in to make sure that you can get the best quality safety equipment at an affordable price. You can check out some of the best welding shirts, our top picks for best welding gloves as well as welding respirator. And lastly, here is our guide to good value welding helmets.
Have Emergency Procedures in Place
It is part of all modern-day work environments that you have an emergency plan in place for any potential incidents or accidents that may arise. This applies equally to working in a home environment. Of course, prevention is better than cure it is still a good idea to put an emergency plan into place. There is an unexpected nature to some aspects of welding that will always pose a risk. Some of the important aspects of your precautions is to have a fire extinguisher in good working order. Make sure that it is easily accessed.
You will also want to make sure that you have a fire alarm that is in good working order. Alongside of your fire extinguisher and alarm you should make sure that you have easily accessed fire exits that appropriately marked.
It is also a good idea to have a working phone within easy access just in case you need you make a phone call to emergency services.
Consider the Metal You Will Be Welding and Make a Plan
Before you even consider welding you need to get informed about what material you will be working on and make a plan accordingly. The material will not only affect the welding process itself; it will also affect the process. A great example of this knowing if the surface coasting may be flammable or potentially produce toxic gases when you begin your weld. Always make sure that the surface is prepared and safe to weld.
Think about the different materials you may be working on such as stainless steel, aluminum or mild steel. Also consider the thickness of the material. For instance, you can weld aluminum by applying the MIG process, but you will attain great outcomes utilizing a spool gun to feed the consumables. Get informed on the best machine and consumables for needs so that you get a good quality of results.
Welding by its very nature is a hazardous job. Making a checklist of these simple steps that you perform every time before you start welding will help to keep you safe. As an added bonus if you follow these steps it will help to ensure that your workmanship is as good as it possibly can be.