Dont forget the sunblock

With the British summer finally upon  us (well just for now anyway), and us all involved in one of the warmer industries, it is very tempting when we just have a little bit of welding to do, not to put on the appropriate welding safety wear. But please don’t forget the sunblock, you will find that the inside of your left arm, if your a right handed welder, will be the spot that gets most of the welding UV.  I remember one summer, when i had been testing a Powcon inverter welder. It was a very hot day and i just needed to lay down a few MMA rods to give the welding unit a good work out. I remember a little while after the welding tests were completes the area on the inside of my arm was feeling a little sun burnt.  Over the next 24 hrs, this concentrated welding UV caused a reaction in my body. It meant i had to immerse myself in a bath full of a burn treatment liquid for 30 minutes , twice a day, for the next 3 or 4 days.  Needless to say i cover up know.

Welding health and safety is of course a  well covered area.  But it surprises me how many welders fail to understand the risks involved in they do.  Let face it, even at the lightest level. A welder will be turning to pieces of metal into a liquid, whilst injecting inert gases, copper coated or flux cored wire,  this produces all sorts of air borne nasties . There is on the NSE  site, a break down of all the issues involved with all processes on all metals. It must be said that if you did read all the articles on the risks in welding, you would probably change your job.

As a welding employer you have obvious responsibilities for your employee health care, and with retrospective action being taken more often buy ex-employees, due to inadequate welding extraction and protection, it makes a good deal of sense to make sure you know what you should be doing, and also  in my experience as a welding supplier, the best work is done by a fit workforce in a clean and safe environment.  IE. A welder in a workshop regularly running at plus 30 degrees, will work longer and better with an air fed welding helmet on than without.  Welders tend to look after a company that is seen to be looking after them.

As self-employed welders, we can tend to overlook such issues, but the same applies, if you are more comfortable, quality and efficiency will follow.  Welding supplies have certainly moved on over the last few years and the cost of some pretty amazing kit has come right down.  Of course there are air fed welding helmets out there for up to £1000, but for around £300 a perfectly serviceable unit  can be obtained. Lets face it a helmet has to filter and protect to EN and BS standards, so welding respiratory protection is now available to all.  You have one set of lungs, treat them well.


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