Welding, by its nature, includes a number of hazards that can cause injury to those who weld and employees who work around them, as well as to equipment and premises. Your welding team must institute a number of safety measures in their everyday operations, to protect themselves and others in the work area. Here are 5 tips to enforce in order to keep your welding department safe:

Be Aware of the Potential for Fires

Welding and related metalworking operations, such as cutting or grinding, always has the potential for making sparks that can lead to unexpected fires. Do not stare flammable materials in the work area and keep fire extinguishers on hand in work areas. Check all areas at the end of work periods to ensure that nothing is left smoldering that could break into flame at a later time.

Protect Welders’ Eyes from Damage

Even momentary exposure to the welding arc’s light can cause painful burns on the cornea that aren’t felt until hours afterward. Auto-darkening glass on helmets can help to prevent this painful eye condition that is common among welders. Ensure you are using the appropriate darkening glass for your workers’ needs.

Wear Protective Equipment to Prevent Serious Burns

Welders should always be aware of the danger of serious burns to their skin from welding sparks. They should button up shirt collars and sleeve cuffs to prevent painful burns. Employers should provide protective equipment, such as leather gloves with cuffs, flame-resistant clothing, such as aprons, sleeves and jackets. Workers should avoid wearing pants with cuffs that can catch sparks that cause burn injuries.

Ensure Proper Ventilation of Work Areas

Work areas where welding is done should be provided with sufficient ventilation to prevent the buildup of gases and airborne contaminants that can affect workers. Natural ventilation can be used if the work is not done in a confined area and if barriers do not prevent normal cross currents of air. If ceilings are less than 16 feet high or if structural partitions or balconies prevent airflow, mechanical ventilators should be operated. Also, make sure that your welding equipment is up to date and in good condition.

Wear Appropriate Work Shoes

Wearing the proper shoes for work task can help to prevent burn injuries from sparks and fatigue from standing while welding. The right shoes also prevent slips and falls that can cause serious injuries.

Because of the inherent danger in the welding process, workers must learn to incorporate appropriate safety measures into their daily tasks. In this way, business owners can reduce insurance costs, the risk of injury lawsuits and loss of productivity.