Welding Safety in the Workplace

Welding Safety In The Workplace

Welding Safety Introduction
Welding safety starts with an understanding of what could go wrong, and preparation for when it does. To start, protective clothing and equipment must be worn during all welding operation including helmets and shields.

Meaning of Welding

  • To join (metals) by applying heat, sometimes with pressure and sometimes with an intermediate or filler metal having a high melting point.
  • Welding joins two pieces of metal by the use of heat, pressure, or both
  • Brazing or soldering involves a filler metal which has a lower melting point than the metal pieces to be joined
  • Metal cutting is done by heating the metal with a flame and directing a stream of pure oxygen along the line to be cut
  • Arc Welding
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  • Metal Inert Gas (MIG)
  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG)
  • Plaza Arc Welding (PAW)
  • Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
  • And Many More…..more than 80 in all
Arc Welding

  • Uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between an electrode and the base material to melt the metals at the welding point.
  • arc welding is also known as "stick welding".
  • The process of arc welding is widely used because of its low capital and running costs.
  • The flux covering the electrode melts during welding. This forms the gas and slag to shield the arc and molten weld pool. The slag must be chipped off the weld bead after welding. The flux also provides a method of adding scavengers, deodorizers, and alloying elements to the weld metal.

Safety Tips For Arc Welding

  • Aprons flame resistant leather or other material that protects against heat and sparks.
  • Safety shoes / boots sturdy, steel-toed, high-top boots are best; ankle length low-cut shoes may catch hot slag.
  • Ear protection ear plugs, and during very noisy operations such as high velocity plasma torches, ear muffs.
  • Head protection safety helmet or other head gear to protect against sharp or falling objects.

Tig Welding

  • Also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding.
  • Is an arc welding process that uses a non unmentionables electrode to produce the weld.
  • TIG welding has become a popular choice of welding processes when high quality, precision welding is required.
  • With TIG welding, one can perform a variety of weld types on several different metals. Steel and aluminum, however, are the two most widely used metals. The filler rod is another important aspect of TIG welding. Usually made from the same material as the base metal, it is used for reinforcing joints and welding heavy metals.

Safety Tips For TIG Welding

  • Dry, hole free insulating gloves and body protection.
  • Approved welding helmet fitted with a proper shade of filter lenses to protect your face and eyes when welding or watching.
  • Approved safety glasses with side shields under your helmet.
  • Protective clothing made from durable, flame-resistant material (leather, heavy cotton, or wool) and foot protection.

Mig Welding

  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is frequently referred to as MIG welding. MIG welding is a commonly used high deposition rate welding process.
  • Wire is continuously fed from a spool. MIG welding is therefore referred to as a semiautomatic welding process.
  • The primary advantage of MIG welding is that it allows metal to be welded much quicker than traditional welding "stick welding" techniques. This makes it ideal for welding softer metals such as aluminum. When MIG welding was first developed, the cost of the inert gas (i.e., argon) made the process too expensive for welding steel. However, over the years, the MIG welding process has evolved and semi inert gases such as carbon dioxide can now be used to provide the shielding function which makes MIG welding cost effective for welding steel.

Safety Tips For MIG Welding

  • Read your welder's operating manual.
  • Cover any exposed skin, dont keep butane lighters or matches in your pockets.
  • Make sure to wear the right footwear, high top leather shoes, or high top leather boots.
  • Dont not breathe in the gas fumes or any other fumes while your welding, the fumes could kill or hurt you.
Health Hazards

  • Gases and Fumes…
  • Welding “Smoke” is a mixture of very fine particles called fumes and gases
  • Welding “Smoke” contains fumes and gases including…
  • Chromium, nickel, arsenic, asbestos, manganese, silica, beryllium, cadmium, nitrogen oxides, phosgene, acrolein, flourine compounds, carbon monoxide, cobalt, copper, lead, ozone, selenium, and zinc
  • Generally, gases and fumes come from…
  • Base material & filler material
  • Coatings & paints
  • Shielding gases & chemical reactions
  • Process & consumables used
  • Contaminants in the air
  • It is difficult to list all the health effects of welding exposures because the fumes may contain so many different substances that are known to be harmful
  • The individual components of welding “smoke” can affect just about any part of the body, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, & central nervous system
  • Exposure to welding “smoke” may have…
  • Short-term effects…
  • Effects happen at or very soon after exposure
  • Long-term effects
  • Effects may happen after repeated overexposures or an extended time after the exposure

Short-term exposures

  • Exposure to zinc, magnesium, copper and copper oxide can cause metal fume fever
  • Symptoms of metal fume fevere may occur 4 to 12 hours after exposure
  • Symptoms include…
  • Chills, thirst, fever, muscle ache, chest soreness, coughing, wheezing, fatigue, nausea, and metallic taste in mouth
  • Welding “smoke” can irritate the eyes, nose, chest and respiratory tract
  • Welding “smoke” can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, bronchitis, pulmonary edema, and pneumontis
  • Welding “smoke” can cause nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, cramps, and slow digestion
  • Exposure to cadmium can be fatal in a short time
  • Ultraviolet radiation can react with oxygen and nitrogen to form ozone and nitrogen oxides
  • These gases are deadly at high concentrations and can also cause irritation of nose and throat and cause serious lung disease
  • Ultraviolet rays given off by welding can react with hydrocarbon solvents such as…
  • Trichloroethylene; 1,1,1-trichloroethane; methylene chloride; & perchloroethylene to form phosgene gas
  • Even a very small amount of phosgene gas may be deadly
  • Early symptoms include dizziness, chills, and cough and usually take 5 – 6 hours to appear
  • ARC welding should never be performed within 200 feet of degreasing equipment or solvents
  • Studies of welders, flame cutters, and burners have shown that welders have an increased risk of lung cancer…
  • and…possibly cancer of the larnyx and urinary tract
  • Remember… welding “smoke” can include cancer causing agents such as…cadmium, nickel, beryllium, chromium, and arsenic
  • Welders may experience a variety of chronic respiratory problems, including…
  • Bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, pneumoconiosis, decreased lung capacity, silicosis, and siderosis
  • Other health problems…
  • Heart disease, skin diseases, hearing loss, chronic gastritis, gastroduodentis, and ulcers of the stomach and small intestine
  • Reproductive risks

Health Risks

  • Heat exposure…
  • Heat stress, heat stroke
  • burns, eye injuries from hot slag, metal chips, sparks, and hot electrodes
  • Visible light, and ultraviolet and infrared radiation
  • Intense light can cause damage to retina
  • Infrared radiation may damage the cornea and result in cataracts
  • Invisible UV light can cause “arc eye” or “welders’ flash”
  • May include sandy or gritty eye, blurred vision, intense pain, tearing, burning and headache
  • Permanent eye damage
  • Skin burns
  • Skin cancer
  • Noise
  • Can result in stress, increased blood pressure, may contribute to heart disease, tiredness, nervousness, and irritability

Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Back injuries, shoulder pain, tendinitis reduced muscle strength, carpal tunnel syndrome, white finger, and knee joint diseases
  • Injuries may be caused by overhead work, vibration and heavy lifting

Dangerous Machinery

  • All machines in the area with moving parts must be guarded to prevent worker’s contact
  • Hair, clothing, fingers, etc.
  • When repairing machinery by brazing and welding, power must be disconnected, locked out, and tagged so the machinery cannot be started up accidentently

Trips and Falls
  • To prevent trips and falls…
  • keep work areas clear of equipment, machines, cables, and hoses
  • Always properly maintain and use handrails
  • Always use and maintain safety lines, harnesses and lanyards
  • Always make sure that scaffolds are properly assembled and used

Welding Hazards in Confined Space

  • A work area with limited access, little or no airflow, not intended for continuous occupation
  • May also have dangerous atmospheres, hazardous configurations, or other hazards
  • All employees working in or around confined space must be trained
  • Never weld or cut in explosive, flammable, combustible or other dangerous environments
  • Always use all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including, harness and lanyard, respiratory protection, eye protection, etc.
  • Never work in confined space without a trained attendant
  • Always leave gas cylinders and welding power sources outside the confined space…
  • Only take hoses or welding leads into confined space
  • Always removed hoses and/or leads when leaving confined space for breaks, shift or crew changes, etc.
  • No worker should work in an area with less than 19.5% or more than 23.5% oxygen content
  • Never ventilate with oxygen
  • Use continuous mechanical ventilation and proper respiratory protection
  • All pipes, ducts, power lines, etc. that are not necessary for the work should be disconnected/locked out/tagged out

Compressed Gas Hazards
  • Gas welding and cutting use a fuel gas and oxygen which are stored in high pressure cylinders
  • Most fuel gases are explosive
  • Pure oxygen will increase the flammability of any combustible/flammable material
  • All cylinders should have caps or regulators
  • Pressure regulators must be designed for gas in use
  • Check all equipment and components prior to use
  • Cylinders must be stored upright and secured
  • Oxygen and fuel gas cylinders must be stored separately
  • Be aware of flashbacks and backfires??
  • Close cylinder valves when work is completed or left unattended during breaks, etc.

Reducing Noise Hazards

  • Identify hazards and potential hazards prior to beginning hot work
  • Read the MSDS sheet to identify the hazardous material used in welding and cutting products, and the fumes that may be generated
  • Make sure that you know what you are welding before beginning
  • Cadmium exposure can be fatal in a very short time
  • After a specific hazard(s) has been identified…
  • you can implement appropriate control method(s)
  • You can use appropriate PPE

Engineering Controls and Work Practices

  • Substitute less hazardous materials for hazardous materials
  • Use cadmium-free silver solders
  • Use asbestos- free electrodes, gloves, and hot pads
  • Use ventilation to move away or dilute hazards
  • Use work area barriers to protect others working in the same general area
  • Welding booths should be painted with dull finishes so they don’t reflect UV light
  • Acoustic shields between the worker and noise sources can reduce exposures
  • Noisy machinery can be totally enclosed
  • Modify the process or follow safe work practices so that hazards are eliminated or reduced to the minimum…
  • Don’t weld on painted surfaces; use water table under plasma arc cutting to reduce noise; Grind instead of air-arcing; use sub arc; position yourself away from fumes; remove nearby flammables/combustibles; properly maintain equipment; proper housekeeping; use lowest possible amperage; hold electrode perpendicular and close to work surface
  • Never weld or cut within 200 feet of decreasing equipment or solvents
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • PPE must be used in conjunction with engineering controls and safe work practices
  • Use of one does not eliminate the need for the other
  • Eye protection should be used in all welding operations
  • Wear face shields or helmets and goggles or safety glasses
  • Use appropriate filters on eye protection

Filter Lens Shade Numbers

  • SMAW – 1/16 - 5/32 = #10
  • Gas SAW - 1/16 - 5/32 = #11 (nonferrous)
  • Gas SAW – 1/16 – 5/32 = #12 (ferrous)
  • SMAW – 3/16 – ¼ - = #12
  • 5/16 & 3/8 electrodes = #14
  • Atomic Hydrogen Welding = #10 - #14
  • Carbon Arc Welding CAW = #14
  • Soldering = #2
  • Torch Brazing = #3 or #4
  • Light cutting up to 1 inch = #3 or #4
  • Medium cutting 1 inch to 6 inches = #4 or #5
  • Heavy cutting over 6 inches = #4 or #6
  • Light gas welding up to 1/8” = #4 or #5
  • Medium gas welding 1/8” to ½ “ = #5 or #6
  • Heavy Gas Welding over ½ “ = #6 or #8
Electrical Hazards
  • Even though welding generally uses low voltage, there is still a danger of electric shock
  • Wet work areas, Cramped work spaces
  • Falls, fractures and other accidents can result from electrical exposure
  • Even small shock can cause brain damage
  • Death can occur from large shocks
  • Always use dry gloves
  • Always wear rubber soled shoes
  • Always use insulating layers
  • Protect yourself from surfaces that conduct electricity
  • When working on electrically powered machinery, make sure the frame is grounded
  • Keep insulation on all welding equipment and components dry and in good condition
  • Don’t change electrodes with bare hands, wet gloves or while standing on wet or ungrounded surfaces

Welding Safety Guidelines

  1. To avoid danger from heat, ultraviolet rays and sparks, always wear protective clothing.
  2. Protect your hands by wearing leather gauntlet gloves
  3. A welding helmet is also used as a protective equipment.
  4. To prevent fire accidents, fire extinguishers can be used.
  5. Work in a area with proper ventilation and fire resistant floors.
  6. Do not try to weld on a concrete surfaces.
  7. After welding a metal, handle it with metal tong or pliers.

Job Hazards in Welding

  • Smoke and Fumes
  • Burns
  • Eye Hazards
  • Radiations
  • Electric Shock

Right Protective Gear

  • Welder Mask
  • Ventilation
  • Eye Protection
  • Fire Protection
  • Protective Clothing

Welding Mask

  • Clear Face Shield
  • Helmet With Respirator
  • Safety Goggles


All welding area should have properly ventilation like:

  • Natural
  • Fan
  • Exhaust hood
  • Air ventilated Helmets

Eye protection

Welding eye protection protects against injuries from debris and from the effects of the ultraviolet light. Different types of helmets are made to protect you when performing different types of welding.

Hearing Protectors

  • Ear plugs and/or muffs should be worn during noisy operations such as air arcing or grinding
  • Most welding operations are noisy
Fire Protection

  • Knowledge of welding Techniques
  • Knowledge of Equipment
  • Knowledge of Process
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Sand and Water

Fire and Explosion Hazards

  • Intense heat and sparks can cause fires or explosions if in the vicinity of combustible or flammable materials
  • Welding and cutting should only be performed in areas free of combustible materials such as trash, wood, paper, textiles, plastics, chemicals, and flammable dusts, liquids and gases
  • Never weld or cut on containers that have held a flammable or combustible material unless the container is thoroughly cleaned or filled with an inert gas
  • A fire inspection should be performed prior to leaving a work area and for at least 30 minutes after the operation is completed
  • Fire extinguishers should be nearby, of proper size, type and number for the hazards involved
Protective Clothing

  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Pants that cover the tops of shoes
  • Gloves
  • shoes or boots
  • Leather jackets
  • Leather aprons
  • Leather skull caps

For More Information you can write or call us

Best Regards,
Puneet Sharma
E-mail: AWS.CWI.Training@Gmail.Com


  1. I think that the proper training and knowledge of the proper equipment of electrical control system is necessary to perform this dangerous job. Along with you need to put some safety measures like wear protective clothing and gloves as to protect from the heat and ultraviolet rays and keep fire extinguisher with you while performing this task.

  2. Welding safety is a must in my opinion! All the construction companies out there should implement safety measures for employees

    Afaq Ahmed
    Wheels Melting Brazing Alloy

  3. Wow :)
    This is an incredible collection of ideas!
    Waiting for more helpful pieces.
    You would amazing to read a similar one here-

  4. I have read your entire article. The tools you have discussed for welding tools improvement in this article are very important to us. As a carpenter I can say that this article is very useful for everyone. Thank you very much.

    You would feel more happy to read similar one from here-

  5. We Specialize In World-Class Welding Courses And Trainings .
    Call Us Today To Get Started! Our Welding Classes Feature Hands-On Training And Vary From Beginner To
    Get your career started on the right path with welding training from Centura College. welding career training
    Start Your . Learn more! Day or Evening Schedules.

  6. thankyou for your article. safety is very necessary while performing such activities such as welding. you can get Best Welding Safety Accessories Weldmate.