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The most common injuries among welders

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

The United States has a welder shortage. Approximately 50% of US manufactured goods require welding. However, there is an expected shortage of 360,000 workers to fill those welding jobs.

Becoming a skilled welder is an excellent career choice, but it’s not easy. Furthermore, welders face several hazards on the job.

Understanding the hazards

One of the most common hazards is the risk of electrical shock. Direct contact with electrical components or the arc could be fatal. In addition to the welding equipment, the work environment can be dangerous if there are damp conditions or improper grounding.

Burns are also prevalent among welders due to the intense heat and sparks produced during the process. If protective clothing is inadequate, hot metal or ultraviolet (UV) can cause harm.

Exposure to the bright UV light emitted by the welding arc can result in “welder’s flash”. This is a painful inflammation of the cornea and potential temporary blindness. Continuous exposure can lead to long-term eye damage.

Welding can produce toxic fumes from metals such as lead and manganese. Furthermore, exposure to certain gases, such as helium, argon and carbon monoxide, poses significant health risks when inhaled.

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment. They need to ensure welders have the appropriate gear, including:

  • Helmets with protective lenses
  • Gloves
  • Fire-resistant clothing
  • Ear plugs

It’s also crucial that employers provide comprehensive training on equipment use, safety procedures and hazardous materials. Proper ventilation to help disperse toxic fumes, regular maintenance of equipment and addressing electrical safety issues also contribute to welders’ safety.

Everyone has the right to a safe work environment. When that doesn’t occur, accidents can happen. Welders injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses and provide a source of income during recovery.