Welding confronts workers with many injury risks and the possibility of sparking fires in nearby materials. Supervisors need to assess hazards at each work site and take appropriate measures to protect workers. The following examples illustrate some hazards that caused injuries.
Electric welding requires high voltages. One welder suffered an electrocution because of the perspiration soaking his clothing. He lacked dry insulation fabric between his body and the metal work area. In other cases, fumes rising from heated metal present another significant hazard. Workers needed medical treatment after exposure to fumes that came off of Teflon-like coatings on snow removal equipment that they were welding. Better respiratory protection and knowledge of the chemical composition of the work surface might have spared them from harm.
An assessment of a work site also needs to evaluate the potential for fire. Multiple incidents of fires have been caused by welding sparks flying between building levels. Prior to welding work, combustible materials should be removed from the area or covered with fire blankets. During this type of work, someone should be assigned to monitor the area for fires and have fire extinguishers on hand.
When an accident hurts a worker on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help cover medical expenses and other amounts. The injured victim needs to report the workplace injury promptly to the employer. The procedures for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits are time-sensitive, and as a result, many injured workers obtain the assistance of an attorney who has experience with these types of matters.