Welders in Georgia and around the country face workplace hazards ranging from fires and explosions to radiation exposure and electric shocks. Companies can protect their welding workers by ensuring that they are properly trained, conducting regular safety inspections, and complying with standards published by groups including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Welding Society.
Fires are the most common welding hazard, but the risks can be reduced by providing welders with flame-resistant clothing and ensuring that all hot work is performed in a designated area where combustible material has been removed. When this is not possible, flammable substances should be moved at least 35 feet away from areas where welders will be working. Employers should ensure that welders work in areas that are properly ventilated to remove dangerous gases, and a member of the welding team should be tasked with watching out for sparks or embers.
A helmet specifically designed for the job should always be worn by welders, and the eye protection it provides is especially important. A debilitating condition known as “welders’ eye” is caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays, and the symptoms are often not noticed for several hours. This is why OSHA standards call for welding helmets to be fitted with appropriate filter plates. The AWS recommends going even further and ensuring that welders wear safety glasses and helmets equipped with UV resistant side shields.
Welders may file workers’ compensation claims if they are injured in on-the-job accidents or become ill after being exposed to toxic fumes in the workplace. Attorneys with experience in cases involving workplace injuries could help workers to complete claims paperwork and gather any medical evidence that may be required. Attorneys could also represent them during workers’ compensation hearings if their employers dispute or deny their claims.