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What Are Common Types of Welding Injuries?

Our Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Injured Welders

Welding is common in many industries, including construction, manufacturing, and automotive repair. While welding is essential for joining metal parts, it poses several risks to workers, including potential workplace injuries.  Both employers and employees need to understand the types of welding injuries that can occur to help maintain a safe workplace.

Many industries have already implemented standards and practices to ensure the safety of their welders and those who work closely with welding.  Even so, welding injuries are among the most common in the workplace.  In fact, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 500,000 U.S. workers are at risk of welding-related injuries.

Here are the most common, non-fatal welding injuries:

  • Burns: One of the most common welding injuries is burns. Welding involves using high temperatures to melt metal; if proper precautions are not taken, workers can suffer from the heat of the welding arc or contact with hot metal. These burns can range from minor to severe and can result in long-term scarring and disability.
  • Eye injuries: Perhaps the most common welding injury is called “arc eye.”  The intense light produced by the welding arc can cause damage to the eyes if proper eye protection is not worn. Welding without a helmet or welding mask can lead to conditions such as arc eye, which is a painful inflammation of the cornea caused by exposure to ultraviolet light.
  • Respiratory problems: Besides burns and eye injuries, welding can cause respiratory problems. The fumes and gases produced during welding can contain harmful substances, such as chromium, nickel, and manganese, irritating the respiratory tract and causing long-term health problems. Prolonged exposure to these fumes can lead to conditions such as welding fume fever, which is characterized by flu-like symptoms, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Electrical injuries: You could suffer electrical shock while welding because the arc welding process creates an arc, which can electrocute you if you touch something while touching grounded metal.  You can also suffer secondary shock by touching an electrode circuit.
  • Excessive noise: It can get noisy in some workplaces, especially for those working in the construction business.  OSHA regulates industries that have a noise level above 90 decibels.
  • Explosions: When working with flammable materials and vapors, you always put yourself at risk of a fire or explosion.

Safety Tips for Welders

To prevent a welding injury, workers should follow a few safety tips:

  • Wear protective gear: This includes a welding helmet with a filter lens to protect the eyes from the intense light of the welding arc, as well as gloves, long sleeves, and pants made of flame-resistant material to protect the skin from burns.
  • Use proper ventilation: Ensure the work area is well-ventilated to minimize welding fumes and gas exposure. If indoor welding is necessary, use exhaust fans or other ventilation systems to remove fumes from the area.
  • Limit exposure: Minimize welding time to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful fumes and gases. Take frequent breaks and work in short intervals to allow the area to ventilate.
  • Use respiratory protection: When adequate ventilation is not possible, or when welding in confined spaces, use a respirator to protect the lungs from inhaling harmful fumes and gases.
  • Inspect equipment regularly: Check welding equipment for damage or wear and tear. Replace damaged equipment immediately to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Follow safety guidelines: Adhere to all safety guidelines and procedures outlined by your employer or industry standards. This includes receiving proper training in welding techniques and safety practices.

Our Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Injured Welders

Welders have one of the most dangerous jobs of all industries, even with the safety regulations and equipment.  You may be entitled to compensation if you are a welder and have experienced a work-related injury.  Contact our Chester County workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC today.  Call 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.  Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.