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The plain answer is YES!. Statistics showed that 50 fatalities were recorded in work-related welding scenarios alone, though the number might be higher as of recent. Mild shock rarely happens, a fatal shock is even rarer.
As well known, electricity is a powerful source of energy and so far a controlled circuit of electricity is used to perform welding work, it is very safe.
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Normal physics shows that electricity flows through a path of least resistance and if you are dey or standing on a dry surface pattern, your body tends to have more resistance to electrical flow than the metal you are working on. This situation in which electricity encounters a less resistance flowing through the base metals and also the back through the ground cable than when it is flowing through you, and if you are the only conductor bridging an electrical circuit, then a shock is inevitable.
Shock is due to situations where your gloves, clothes, the floor or the metal you wish to weld with are damp and wet. Welding during rain or snow should be definitely avoided. All water sources or liquids should be avoided and wearing dry gloves and clothes should be definitely encouraged.
Why will I get shocked even when I am dry and took all the precautions? Yes, it might be true, as body sweat can increase the possibility of getting a great shock as water might not necessarily be a great conductor of electricity but it has less resistance than you.
In cases of shock, it may cause severe electrical burns as a result of extreme damage. The severity might not always be evident immediately after shutting the power. So immediately after shutting power emergency medical personnel should be contacted. First aid like CPR, treating for shock and washing burns with very clean water and covering with a clean badge can also be done immediately after effect.
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Other precautions to be done in case of electric shock or electrocution include-
- Your hands and body should be kept dry during a welding operation.
- An insulating mat should be used by the operator if a welding operation should be done on steel or great conductive material.
- The rod holders should also be insulated.