Welding sparks can travel as far as 35 feet, and spatter can bounce on the floor or fall through openings. About 6 percent of industrial fires resulting in loss of human life are due to unsafe welding or cutting operations.
These are the sources of hazards & body parts most vulnerable and some steps to prevent injuries:
1. Fire (from flame, sparks, & hot slag):
—Remove combustible materials from the area.
—Clean all flammable substances from the work surface.
—Cover wooden floors if possible.
—Keep a sand bucket and fire extinguisher nearby.
—Wear fire-resistant clothing.
—Perform welding in areas with fire-resistant floors or floors covered with fire-resistant shields.
2. Fumes (from heated metal):
—Work area should be well-ventilated.
—Wear approved respirator if required.
—Stop working if you feel ill.
—Use respirators to prevent inhaling dangerous fumes & gases.
—Check that ventilation is adequate when welding, and set fans to blow fumes away from you.
3 . Face (injuries to the face and eyes):
—Wear a face shield to protect against eye injuries from sparks, flying particles, and radiation.
—Realize that goggles may also be needed when chipping metal.
—Check cylinders regularly for leaks.
—Store cylinders upright and secured in a separate, dry, ventilated, fireproof room.
—Keep cylinders away from heat and flammables, and keep oxygen away from flammable or explosive gases.
—Turn off cylinders when not in use.
—Don't drop or roll cylinders.
—Turn off welders before touching electrical parts.
—Have separate ground for object being welded.
—Use the correct size cable, with intact insulation.
—Don't wear metal jewelry or weld in the rain.