How to safely operate an arc welder

Creating temperatures of around 3100 °C in order to melt metal down into a molten substance, it’s no wonder that arc welders are one of the most dangerous tools in existence. Welders aren’t just vulnerable to the dangers of burning, but also of electric shock, asphyxiation due to the release of fumes and gases at very high temperatures and even explosion. It is, therefore, essential that proper safety procedures are adhered to at all times.

What is an arc welder?

An arc welder is a type of welder which uses a power supply in order to create an electric arc between and electrode and the base material. This electric arc then generates the temperatures necessary to melt the base material at the welding point. Arc welding is how most steel structures including car bodies are created today.

Safety procedures for operating an arc welder

  • Always wear proper protective gear including a full body suit and metal helmet at all times when operating an arc welder
  • Never touch leads or any electrically ‘hot’ elements of the welder when the welder is on
  • Don’t rest your body, arms, or leg on the piece of metal being worked upon, as this could result in electric shock
  • Ensure clothing is fully dry at all times
  • Ensure conditions are dry and there is no moisture present on the metal to be worked upon
  • Always wear a protective mask and keep head away from any fumes that are created during the welding process
  • Ensure area is well ventilated at all times
  • When working with certain toxic metals, a respirator should be worn
  • Ensure there are no flammable materials near the welding area – if these materials can’t be moved, use a fire-resistant shield to protect them from sparks
  • Always ensure there is a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Never use an arc welder without proper training and supervision
  • Never use an arc welder if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you are excessively tired or ill

What to do if you have been injured by an arc welder

If you have been injured in an accident at work, employer negligence may be to blame. Your employer has a duty of care to keep you safe at work at all times, and if this hasn’t been the case, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury compensation. To find out more, contact our expert legal advisors at Accident Advice Helpline.

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