Welding is a procedure which incorporates a multitude of possible health issues. Depending on the type of welding operation these could include: electric shock, radiation, burns, fumes and gasses, fire, explosion, and noise. Therefore, it is important that the correct safety procedures are established, maintained and enforced. It is also important that the welder be protected from the potential hazards associated with the welding process by appropriate and adequate guarding arrangements.
The following describes the control measure taken by an employer to ensure the safety of operators using a ‘Mig’ welding station.
With the introduction of a new process consideration was given at the design stage to incorporate guarding and production requirements. The new design was developed by the maintenance team together with the company’s own engineers to ensure that the operator was adequately guarded while at the same time production did not suffer.
The process consisted of welding sections of fuel pipe together. The sections to be welded are placed on a rotating welding table, the guard is closed and the welding procedure commences. A cam arrangement is used to define when the product has been welded. Once the welding process is completed the guard opens automatically.
The guarding arrangements completely enclose the welding process. The front guard consists of metal sheet with a welding screen for viewing. The guard is air actuated and is electronically interlocked to the operation of the machine. The welding process cannot operate without the guard being in place. Potential hazards from fumes are eliminated as an extraction system is incorporated in the design and again is activated when the machine is in operation.
Hierarchy of Controls:
- Simple, cost-effective system of protection and guarding to protect employees from potential fume and radiation hazards.