Like all professions, welding has its own health hazards and risks of injury.
Despite all scientific advancements, science still has not found a solution to fusing two pieces of metal together without the process of welding, which involves the use of tremendous amount of heat to melt the two ends of the metal that need to be fused. This procedure exposes welders to a number of health hazards that can cause a variety of work-related injuries and illnesses. Welding is a process that is used in a number of industries including construction, shipping, and manufacturing, with welders making up about half a million of the country’s workforce. In this post, we will discuss some of the most common welders’ injuries.
Types of Welder’s Injuries
Like all professions, welding has its own health hazards and risks of injury. Welders not only face risks of injury like burns due to excess heat, and electric and welders flash (a condition that causes diminished vision and blinding), but also a host of respiratory disorders, brain and nerve damage, and cancers of the lungs caused due to toxic fumes that get released during the welding process.
Welders work with heat and electricity, which puts them at high risk of burn injuries. The spatter and sparks that emanate from a weld can cause second and third degree burns if they manage to ignite surrounding material and clothing. Whether the welder is using an MMA welding system outdoors, or a GMAW welding system for welding work indoors, they are at risk. The process of welding also includes the use of electricity that exposes welders to risks of electric shocks.
Welders Flash and Arc Radiation
Welding emits ultraviolet light that is produced from arc rays. Exposure to this radiation can cause skin burns and damage the retina of the eyes called Arc Eyes. Constant exposure to excess light and radiation can cause welders flash – a condition that is characterized by tearing eyes, sensitivity to light, dry eyes and burning sensations in the eyes. Often, eye drops, eye patches, ointments and pain killers are medications prescribed for these two conditions.
Manganism – Welders Parkinson’s
Welding rods, electrodes, and wires often contain manganese, an element that is known to nerve damage if inhaled via fumes emanating from the equipment. Manganism includes symptoms like dementia, ataxia, anxiety, a mask-like face, short-term memory loss, slurred speech, sleep disorders, and impaired judgment. Manganism is unique only to exposure to manganese and causes symptoms that are similar to Parkinson’s disease. The brain and nerve damage that is caused by manganism is permanent.
By taking proper safety measures, workplace injuries may be avoided. Welders should ensure that they use adequate personal protective equipment before performing any welding jobs. Managers and supervisors should also explain the work-related hazards of welding and employers should adhere to OSHA standards of safety.