Updated: Oct 17
Welding presents several hazards to those who are undertaking the activity and others who are in the vicinity. It is important that you are aware of, and understand the controls, for the risks and hazards of welding.
When welding you are at risk of experiencing a risk of electric shock. A electrical shock is the most serious hazard posed by welding and can result in serious fatalities and injury. You could receive a direct shock or a secondary shock, should you touch part of the welding or electrode circuit at the same time as touching the metal you are welding
When welding you are at risk of experiencing a risk of electric shock. A electrical shock
is the most serious hazard posed by welding and can result in serious fatalities and injury. You could receive a direct shock or a secondary shock, should you touch part of the welding or electrode circuit at the same time as touching the metal you are welding.
You are at even more of a risk if you work in electrically hazardous conditions
These could include:
Wearing wet or damp clothing
Area with metal flooring or structures
Cramped conditions where you are required to kneel, lie or crouch.
When carrying out welding activities, you are likely to be exposed to loud, prolonged
noise. A loud noise is considered to be above 85dB(A). A good rule of thumb is that
if you have to shout to be heard the environmental could likely be over 85dB(A) and
hearing protection is recommended.
Exposure to prolonged loud noise can result in noise-induced hearing loss. Noiseinduced hearing loss can have the following side-effects:
Ringing in the ears, know as tinnitus
Occasional dizziness, known as vertigo
Increased heart rate
Increased blood pressure
UV and IR Radiation
Looking at the intense bloom of UV light when welding can result in painful and
sometimes long-lasting condition called arc-eye.
Many factors can affect the severity of a flash burn injury, such as distance, duration
and angle of penetration. Long-term exposure to arc flashes could also potentially
result in cataracts and lead to a loss of vision.
Other forms of eye damage include:
Foreign bodies entering the eye, including grit, sparks and dust
Particulate fumes and gases, which could lead to conjunctivitis
It is important to wear eye protection and / or use welding curtains to prevent injury.
Gas and fumes can be created by welding. These can easily penetrate into your lungs. Depending on the gas or fume, the concentration and duration of the exposure, the resultant damage can be severe.
Illnesses caused by welding fumes and gases include:
Pneumonia: Regular exposure to welding fumes and gases can result in a lung infection, which could develop into pneumonia. Most infections can be stopped by antibiotics, however severe pneumonia can result in hospitalization, serious illness or fatality.
Occupational Asthma: Chromium oxides and nickel oxides produced by stainless steel and high nickel alloy welding can both cause asthma.
Cancer: All welding fumes are internationally considered ‘carcinogenic’.
Metal Fume Fever: Welding or hot work on galvanized metal and high steel weld fume exposure can often result in ‘flu-like’ symptoms.
Throat and Lung irritation: this can include throat dryness, tickling of the throat, coughing and chest tightness.
The combination of high-temperature welding arcs, UV rays and molten metal
means you are susceptible to severe burns during welding. These burns can
affect the skin or eyes and can be very serious. They can also happen very
Avoid keeping flammable materials in the vicinity of welding processes as
sparks, heat and molten metal splatters produced in the welding process could
potentially set flammable material on fire. Assess your surroundings for fire
hazards prior to welding.
When welding ensure you are wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) to protect yourself.
Welding Helmets - Welding helmets protect you from UV radiation, particles, debris, hot slag and chemical burns. The helmet lens come in different options from the type of welding. Ensure your lens is suitable for the task.
Respirators - Respirators protect you from fumes and oxides that the welding process creates. Ensure your respirator you have the correct filter and has been fit-tested.
Complete positive and negative pressure checks before welding starts.
Fire Resistant Clothing - Fire resistant clothing protects you from heat, fire and radiation created in the welding process and shields you from burns.
Ensure it is rated to AS/NZS standards.
Ear Protection - Protect your hearing from noise in the workplace. If you can source fire resistant ear protection, this would be ideal.
Safety Footwear and Gloves - Insulated, flame resistant gloves and rubber soled, steel cap safety footwear to shield you from electric shocks, heat, fire, burns and falling objects.
Our team are available if you require assistance or advice with welding health and safety.