Q: What are some tips for a safe welding environment?
A: The area surrounding the welder will be subjected to light, heat, smoke, sparks and fumes. Permanent booths or portable partitions can be used to contain light rays in one area. The heat and sparks given off are capable of setting flammable materials on fire. Therefore, welding should not be done in areas containing flammable gases, vapors, liquids or dusty locations where explosions are a possibility.
Metals with plating, coatings or paint that come near the region of the arc may give off smoke and fumes during welding. These fumes may pose a health hazard to the lungs, therefore an exhaust hood or booth should be used to remove fumes from the area.
When welding in confined spaces, such as inside tanks, large containers or even compartments of a ship, toxic fumes may gather. Also, in an enclosed room, breathable oxygen can be replaced by shielding gases used for welding or purging. Care must be taken to ensure enough clean air for breathing. In many companies, it is routine to provide welders with air masks or self-contained breathing equipment.
Q: How should an operator dress for optimum safety?
A: Gloves and clothing should be flame-resistant. Clothing made from a dark-colored, tightly woven material is best suited for welding. Gauntlet-type leather gloves should be worn to protect the hands and wrists. Shirt collars and shirt cuffs should be buttoned, and open front pockets are not advisable as they may catch sparks. Also, operators should never store matches or lighters in their pockets. Pants cuffs are not recommended, as they will also catch sparks. Tennis shoes do not qualify as adequate foot protection. High-top leather shoes or boots are absolutely necessary.
Q: Is there a daily maintenance schedule I should follow?
A: Below (See page 58), is a general engine drive routine daily maintenance schedule, but it should be modified according to a company's specific conditions.
By following a regimen of appropriate and thorough maintenance and safety, a welder can run dependably for decades. Designed to withstand rough use, these machines use high quality components and are tested for durability.
Always refer to the owner's manual for a thorough explanation of safety and maintenance. This article does not give complete coverage of all the maintenance and safety issues in existence.
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