Welding is a rewarding but dangerous occupation.
As a welder, you must be highly skilled, detail-oriented and careful. Unfortunately, if your employer does not value worker safety, you may be at risk for severe and life-altering injuries.
Welders face unique occupational hazards
Welding requires specific care for the environmental factors and the individual performing the work. Without the necessary protections, you are vulnerable to various injuries and illnesses, including:
- Arc flash: burns to the outer layer of the eyeball caused by exposure to the intense ultraviolet light produced by the electrode making contact with the workpiece during welding. Arc flash commonly occurs when a person looks directly at an arc without a proper protective helmet or shield.
- Burns: The process of welding produces sparks, spray and spatter that can deposit hot molten metal onto exposed skin, causing mild to severe burns. To prevent burns, welders should wear specialized personal protective gear, such as leather gloves, a long-sleeve jacket and steel-toed boots, that meet industry standards.
- Lung disease: The welding process produces fumes that can lead to breathing and respiratory issues in workers without adequate ventilation in the workspace.
Employers have a duty to protect workers
Welding-related injuries are often severe, requiring extensive and expensive medical treatment. Worker’s compensation benefits cover costs associated with workplace accidents and injuries, but that does not mean employers can ignore OSHA safety standards and welding protocols.
If you suffer a work-related welding injury, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. Additionally, you should document your experience and report the incident as soon as possible to start the worker’s compensation claims process.