Welding poses several health risks. One of the most common is lack of oxygen. Working in an enclosed area is dangerous, since inert gases and common chemical reactions may reduce the availability of oxygen. Welding gasses, such as carbon dioxide and argon, displace air and can pool in unexpected locations. Workers must comply with workplace controls to avoid causing harm to themselves or others. To minimize welding hazards, employees must wear protective gear.
The fumes that are generated during welding are very harmful. They contain various metals, including cadmium and manganese, which can cause respiratory problems, dizziness, and difficulty walking. Exposure to cadmium fumes may cause death or permanent damage. Listed below are the seven most common health risks related to welding. However, many other types of metal and alloys are equally dangerous.
Asphyxiation is another hazardous welding condition. The process of welding exposes workers to poisonous gases that can result in asphyxiation, a condition where they cease breathing. Inert gasses can also be a source of asphyxiation. This condition can occur quickly if a person does not use a respirator or is not careful while welding. Welders should avoid working in enclosed areas if they do not have a safe system of work. A cylinder may be left unlocked, introducing gas into the area, or a liquid cylinder can be released. Alternatively, a fan can be used to move air laterally into the welding area.
Arc welding is another potentially dangerous welding activity. This procedure involves live electrical circuits and creates a pool of molten metal. The potential for electric shock can cause serious injuries or even death. Secondary electric shock is another serious problem, particularly if the electrode circuit comes into contact with an individual during welding. As with any work place, the risk of electrocution increases as the voltage increases. Fortunately, the most dangerous electrical shocks can be avoided if workers follow the safety precautions.