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10 Tips for Safe Welding

16 Jul 2008


Wear helmets with the correct lens

Inspect the welder before starting

Always keep a fire extinguisher ready


Protect yourself. Wear welding gloves, helmet, leather apron, welding chaps, leather shoes, and eye protection to help prevent weld burns and injury. The welder and all observers must wear welding helmets with the appropriate filter lens strength for the type of welding being done. Arc welding requires a No. 10 to 12 filter lens. MIG welding requires at least a No. 10 shaded lens. TIwelding requires a No. 11 or 12 shaded filter lens.


Be prepared. Before starting any welding operation, a complete inspection of the welder should be made. Read all warning labels and instructions manuals. Remove all potential fire hazards from the welding area. Always have a fire extinguisher ready for immediate use. Equip welding machines with power disconnect switches which can be shut off quickly. Proper grounding of welding machines is essential. Electrode holders should not be used if they have loose cable connections, defective jaws, or poor insulation.

Weld in a well-ventilated area. Welding fumes should be ventilated away    from the person welding, not across the welder's face. Remember that shielding gases are asphyxiants, and welding fumes are harmful. Work in well-ventilated areas to prevent suffocation or fume sickness.

Never wear synthetic fiber clothing or weld with flammables in your pocket. Synthetic fibers are highly flammable. If ignited by a welding spark, flammable items (matches, butane lighters, fuel sticks, etc) could cause serious burns. Do not allow bystanders to smoke in the welding area.

Avoid electrical shock. Make certain that the electrode holder and all electrical connections and cables are properly insulated. Check to see that the welder is properly grounded. Do not dip the electrode holder in water to cool it because this practice may result in electrical shock. Never weld in damp locations because of the shock hazard. When operating a MIG welder, never touch an electrical connection or bare wire. When TIG welding never touch the tungsten electrode with the filler rod. The tungsten electrode is charged with electric current which may charge the filler rod and shock the person welding. Gloves can help to insulate against possible shock.

Protect welding cables. Keep the cables from coming in contact with hot metal and sharp edges. Do not drive over cables. When welding, avoid wrapping electrode cables around your body.

Handle hot metal with pliers or tongs. Submerge hot metal completely in water to prevent steam burns.

Do not allow electrodes to stick. If the electrode sticks, cut off the switch, allow the electrode to cool, and then break it loose with your gloved hand.

Prevent burns. Never allow the hot electrode or electrode holder to touch bare skin. Avoid letting the electrode touch the grounded cable. Remove hot metal from the work area when you are finished welding to prevent burns to others.

Secure work. Use a welding table with a positioner to hold welds securely in place. Clamps and vices can be used to hold odd-shaped work. Securing work will also prevent injury from accidental dropping of metal on your feet or body