10 Helpful Welding Advice for Newbies
So, you’ve decided to take up welding.
Welders love working with their hands and have a great eye for detail. The ability to fuse metal together takes time and patience. However, due to the nature of welding, keeping yourself sharp, safe and observant is imperative.
Every good welder knows to always wear their safety gear regardless of how short a time they will need to complete a particular project. Additionally, they use the right tools to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Listed below is some basic advice that everyone looking to join the welding world should definitely heed. Follow these recommendations and you will be able to avoid injury – grievous or otherwise – while producing metalwork of superior standard and quality.
♦ Designated Welding Areas Only
Welding works should only be done in areas where the space has been set up with basic precautions such as fire prevention and protection. There should also be a minimum of 10,000 square feet of space for each welder to work in.
Welding spaces should not have a ceiling height lower than that of 16 feet and it should also not be a partitioned confined space.
♦ Engineering Controls
A major concern during welding is to ensure that the risk of potential hazards is either completely eliminated or kept to as low a level as possible.
A good example of an engineering control is to add ventilation to remove or reduce air contaminants. The importance of having proper ventilation is simple – it is to ensure that all welders involved have a sufficient amount of oxygen.
With these controls in place, the toxic fine particles in welding smoke will cause almost no damage to the lungs and respiratory systems of the welders.
♦ Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Whether you’re just starting out in the welding game or have been doing it for decades, every welder has had the importance of safety impressed upon them in one way or another.
Wearing the right gear is the number one thing that will keep you safe. Working in such close quarters with metal produces chemicals and embers that could cause some serious damage.
For example, helmets, goggles and hand shields have to be able to effectively protect the wearer from direct radiant heat produced from the arc.
Protective clothing, on the other hand, should be made of material that is thick enough to resist sparks, spatter and radiation. Ideally, protective clothing should be dark coloured and cover the wearer in question from neck to feet.
♦ Limiting “Exposure Time”
In a professional working environment, limiting the amount of time a welder is exposed to the fumes and sparks from the metalwork falls under the category of administrative controls. However, if you’re looking to pick-up metal fusing as a hobby, it is important to keep an eye on the clock.
Limiting yourself to a certain amount of time on a weekly or daily basis when it comes to welding is important. Exposing yourself to too much welding fumes at any one could seriously impair your respiratory system in the long-run. Obviously, you don’t want that. So remember to watch that clock closely.
♦ Choose SMAW-Friendly Steel
SMAW stands for Shielded Metal Arc Welding. Choosing tools that are made with SMAW-friendly steel will allow for efficiently and effectively produced work. Yes, these tools may cost a little more – but it will allow you to create work that looks professional.
Furthermore, by using tools that work at fast speeds, you are limiting your time of exposure per project and in turn, protecting your respiratory system.
♦ Read the Instruction Manual from Cover-to-Cover
Regardless of the tool that you are using, remember to read the instructions and familiarize yourself with the device instead of starting it up and hoping for the best.
♦ Look Away from the Light
No, this isn’t a near-death-experience type of pointer. Essentially, if your eyes are unprotected with the right type of goggles or helmet, exposure to the arc flash will surface a few hours later and can often be absolutely excruciating.
So, never forget that helmet.
♦ Utilize Fixtures whenever Possible
Fixtures are simple devices that help to secure a device while a welder works on them. Using fixtures instead of manual movement greatly reduces the risk of hazards.
♦ Proper Footwear
Welding areas are neither the time nor the place for shoes made of canvas, cloth or anything of a similar quality. High quality boots and leather shoes are the perfect way to go.
New welders like yourself may be tempted to take in shallow breaths while welding. The fumes are less than pleasant and do take some getting used to. However, with proper ventilation procedures observed, you will feel safe breathing in deeply and can easily prevent an unnecessary fainting spell.
Ultimately, welding is a great choice for both professional and recreational purposes. If you have managed to marry the both and effectively turn your hobby into a full-fledged career, then congratulations to you!
Just remember, to practice safety at all time. There’s nothing quite as important as that, is there?