Welding safety, without the proper precautions, can be a dangerous and unhealthy practice. However, with the use of new technology and proper protection, the risks of injury and death associated with welding can be greatly reduced. Most common welding procedures involve an open electric arc or flame, the risk of burns is high.
For welding safety wear personal protective equipment in the form of heavy leather jacket and gloves to avoid exposure to extreme heat and flames. Additionally, exposure to the brightness of the weld area can lead to a condition called arc eye in which ultraviolet light causes the inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retinas of the eyes. Always wear goggles and a certified welding helmet to prevent exposure to high amounts of UV light.
To protect bystanders, transparent welding curtains should surround the welding area. These welding curtains, made of a polyvinyl chloride plastic film, shield nearby workers from exposure to the UV light from the electric arc, but should not be used as a substitute for the filter glass used in welding helmets.
Welding safety proceedures should also be used in exposure to dangerous gases and particles. Processes like flux-cored arc welding and shielded metal arc welding produce smoke containing particles of various types of oxides, which in some cases can lead to medical conditions like metal fume fever. The size of the particles in question tends to influence the toxicity of the fumes, with smaller particles presenting a greater danger.
There are many excellent filter and clean air products available for welding safety and should be used whenever possible. Additionally, many processes produce fumes and various gases, most commonly carbon dioxide and ozone, that can prove dangerous if ventilation is inadequate. Furthermore, because the use of compressed gases and flames in many welding processes pose an explosion and fire risk, some common precautions include limiting the amount of oxygen in the air and keeping combustible materials away from the workplace.
Other areas of welding safety are environmental issues in the workplace. Welders need to maintain a clean workspace to avoid tripping on peices of steel and welder leads. Welding cables should be inspected for burns and cuts to avoid electrocution. Welding in wet areas also requires that leads are kept free of moisture. Noise is a part of a welding environment, from grinding, the machine itself and general fabrication, earplugs and or earmuffs are also a part of welding safety.