Welding Articles

Welding Machine Safety: How to Avoid Accidents and Injuries

Feb 17, 2023

Welding Machine Safety: How to Avoid Accidents and Injuries

Any welding machine should have safety precautions to avoid any injury that may happen during welding, so before going deep in safety precautions included in each welding machine, let us have a brief look on the different types of hazards and consequently the probable incidents that may happen due to welding.

Welding Hazards

There are many hazards that may be there during welding that include:

  1. Exposure to welding fumes and gases: during welding, the welder become exposed to many invisible gaseous fumes including ozone, nitrogen oxide, nickel and chromium oxides and carbon monoxide which can penetrate to your lungs causing many illnesses depending on concentration and exposure time and these illnesses include:Pneumonia: it is the infection of lungs due to exposure to welding fumes and gases that can be treated by using antibiotics but sever infection will lead to extreme fatalities and illnesses.
  • Occupational asthma.: is caused due to exposure to chromium and nickel oxides that may happen during stainless steel welding.
  • Cancer
  • Metal fume fever: is caused by fumes coming out during welding of galvanized steel.
  • Throat and lung irritation.
    • The welding gases and fumes can be avoided by good ventilation of workplace and arranging the work not to be exposed for long time to fumes.
    1. Fires and explosions: welding process is a hot work process having hazards of fires and explosions that may happen due to fire.
    •  The proper precautions for fire suppression are to be followed by having fire extinguishers in the workplace and also to have an emergency plan including the emergency exits , etc.
      • Electric shock: live electricity is used mainly in creating the welding arc and this electricity may cause shock due to touching bare cables and also may cause fall from heights after shock. There is also a secondary source of electric shock that may happen when touching welding machines.
      • This issue can be avoided by wearing the proper PPE including gloves, safety shoes and helmets with the proper maintenance of electric leads and connections and avoid work in wet workplaces.
        • Noise: during welding, you will be exposed to a loud noise exceeding the permissible range 85db.
        • This issue can be avoided by using the proper ear plugs to decrease the intensity of noises to be lower than the permissible range.
          • Exposure to UV and IR radiation: these radiations come out from the light of arc.
          • This issue can be avoided by using the proper screens on the welding mask and avoid direct see of arc during welding in addition to wearing the proper protective clothes.
            • Burns: due to touching hot welds and area of welding.
            • This issue can be avoided by wearing the proper PPE.

              Welding Machines Hazards

              There are many hazards accompanied with the use of welder or welding machine and include the following:



              • Contact with the electrode when the machine is on and there is no welding: when the machine is on and there is no welding is going on, the voltage between the terminal connecting to the electrode holder and that is connecting to earth is called open circuit voltage OCV and in heavy duty stick welding machines, this voltage reaches up to 110 V that is why if the welder touches the electrode by mistake, there will be an electric shock.
              • The welding machine should be accompanied with open circuit voltage reducing device VRD which reduces the voltage to the safe limit lower than 13 V.
              • Over voltage: the voltage supplied to the welding machine may be increased over the allowable limit of the welding which may result in heat of internal wires of the machine for the short exposures and may result in burn and burst of the machine for long exposure.
              • The welding machine should have over voltage protection OVP which is the circuit that receive voltage from the main supply coming to the welding machine that is why in case of over voltage supply, the circuit will switch off the current to go through the machine using one of two methods: a crowbar clamp circuit or a series-connected switch.
              • You should supply the welding operator with fire extinguisher to suppress any fire that may happen.
              • Over current supply: this over current supply to the welding machine will damage the internal circuits of the machine resulting in fire of the machine.
              • Over current protection should be supplied with the machine and to be set at 200% of the maximum current of the machine, so this circuit will stop the machine of the current exceeds this value.
              • You should supply the welding operator with fire extinguisher to suppress any fire that may happen.
              • Over loading of welding machine: this happens when the duty cycle of the machine is exceeded. For example if the duty cycle of the machine at the working current is 60%, you are not allowed to weld continuously for more than 6 minutes otherwise, the machine will heat up and burn.
              • To protect your welder, you have two options:
              1. You can arrange your work and go as recommended following the duty cycle.
              2. Recently, the welding machines contain an over load protection that can switch off arc when the duty cycle is exceeded.
            1. You should supply the welding operator with fire extinguisher to suppress any fire that may happen.
            2. Over heating: the machine heats up when the duty cycle is exceeded or when an over voltage is used or over current is used without the presence of the suitable protection devices and all of these issues will result in fire of the welding machine.
              • Over heat protection: this is a sensor fixed in the most recent welding machines that can sense and measure the heat of welding machine and switch off the machine when heat exceeds the permissible limit.
            3. Static electric shock: This represents the extra electrical charges that become present on the machine body and cause shock when touched.
              • Proper earthing of machine body by connecting the machine body with copper bar fixed in the land to release the extra electric charges to the ground. The resistance of this circuit should be measured to be sure that the resistance in the lower limit.
              • The welder should wear the proper personal protective equipment PPE like gloves, shoes, etc. to be protected from any electric shock.

              There are many manufacturers of welding machines that are offering safety precautions for the above-mentioned hazards including Arccaptain that offer many products having such precautions.

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