Many of the dangers that welders face during work are not obvious to the workers themselves and their superiors, and become noticeable only after a certain time. Inhalation of gases, eye burns, weight transfer, staying in an uncomfortable position, industrial noise - all this becomes the cause of occupational diseases manifested with age.
In this article we will talk about the assessment of occupational hazards in welders and methods for reducing these specific hazards.
When welding metals in the air of the working area, a certain amount of harmful gases is released. The most dangerous welding processes are non-ferrous metals and alloys. But even when welding ordinary ferrous metal, where most of the material is iron, manganese vapor can be released, which has a very devastating effect on health. Stainless steel emits nickel and chrome during welding. When cooking galvanized iron, zinc vapors enter the body. Etc.
In poorly ventilated areas, welding gases displace oxygen. With significant concentrations of harmful substances in the air, you can immediately feel their effects. There will be a headache, abdominal pain, chills, sweating, and shortness of breath when walking. But more often, the destruction of the body takes time, during which we do not notice such characteristic, threshold changes.
It is not entirely true to rely entirely on hazard data identified through a special assessment of working conditions or even production control. These are just the indicators identified during measurements at a particular point in time. Add here the profanation of these processes, add the individual characteristics of each organism, add years of exposure to even insignificant concentrations and we will get a very real risk even in acceptable working conditions.
A threat to the employee’s hearing is the general personal protective equipment noise and noise directly emitted by welding equipment or a grinder.
Inhaling a large amount of carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen content in the blood. This in turn can cause nerve cell death. The dependence of the risk of hearing loss when exposed to carbon monoxide on the welder is proved.
The risks for the musculoskeletal system are poses in which the welder has to work. A long retention of the body in an inclination forward, keeping your hands on weight, lifting weights, etc. become the causes of musculoskeletal disorders.
The need to lower and lean on your knees leads to inflammation and diseases of the knee joints.
Damage to the eyes may be due to arc radiation and / or foreign objects.
The ingress of foreign objects into the eye (chips, scale, etc.) can occur not only as a result of working with the tool, but also after the end of work when removing protective equipment, as well as in the process of wiping sweat with contaminated hands or rags. According to statistics, eye injuries as a result of friction received 36% of the victims of their total number.
Continuous exposure to the ultraviolet and infrared light spectra can lead to irreversible loss of vision.
Keep your face away from the weld point. Select the dimming coefficient of the welding shield in proportion to the energy of the arc used. If you wear glasses, use shields of appropriate design.
Always remove paint residue from the surface to be welded.
Use local exhaust ventilation systems correctly. Position the hood as close to the weld as possible. When welding in hard-to-reach places (under equipment, in niches), use local portable hoods with a flexible hose.
When welding in places that are not equipped with ventilation systems, use a conventional fan to blow off welding fumes.
If you cannot use a local fan or exhaust ventilation, wear a respirator to protect your lungs or use a welding shield with a filter. In especially hazardous conditions, use a welding shield with air supply.
Use hearing protection, knee pads, fireproof clothing, and gloves. Wear safety glasses when working with cutting and grinding tools.