Want to become a welder? Here’s what you need to know.

Filed in : Information

Welders are skilled workers who cut, shape and join metal and pipework in a range of industries. They also carry out repairs on manufacturing equipment and machinery.  Welders are frequently employed in the construction, engineering, transport, aeropspace and oil and gas industry sectors.

Personal Traits

Welding is precision work – you will need to understand technical plans and have good mathematical skills.  The ability to solve problems is required to identify and repair flaws in existing metal structures. You need good hand-to-eye coordination and vision.  The metal pieces are often heavy so strength and stamina are also required.

Entry requirements and training

Most training would be work-based (most commonly apprenticeship) and cover topics such as reading technical drawings, how to select the right tools for the job and learning the different welding methods relevant to the industry or application that you will be working in.  Qualifications include Level 2 NVQ in performing engineering operations, Level 3 NVQ in fabrication and welding engineering, Level 3 diploma in engineering technology, Level 3 diploma in high integrity welding.

Further skills

Courses in mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry and metallurgy are also useful if you want to become a welder. For jobs involving the use of automated welding machines and lasers, knowledge of computers is important. Although the machines do the welding, the operator must understand welding processes to properly program job instructions.

Health and safety for welders

Filed in : Uncategorized

Welding and cutting operations present a huge number of hazards. These apply not only to the welder, but also to any other personnel present in the vicinity of the welding. Some hazards are specific to welding, others are more general. It is extremely important to assess all the hazards present and put adequate measures in place to minimise risk to those present in the workshop.

Both the employer and employee have responsibility to be aware of the dangers present via a health and safety assessment and to put in place/adhere to the necessary precautions.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should not be used solely as the primary method of reducing hazards, but should by no means be side tracked. Furthermore, welding screens and curtains, welding blankets and general welding safety equipment should be appropriately used.

The hazards

These are some of the most common hazards present in a welding environment.

Electrical

This is one of the most serious hazards present in a welding environment. Live electronic components present a huge risk of shock. The welding equipment should be installed by qualified personnel and tested to ensure that it is properly earthed. Appropriate PPE will help prevent the welder from electric shock.

Gases

Several gases are used in welding and cutting including fuel gases, inert gases and cryogenic gases, some of which are highly flammable. Cryogenic gases can cause severe tissue damage to the body. Gas regulators should only be fitted to cylinders using the correct tools.

Heat and fire

A lot of heat is produced from many different sources in a welding environment. To minimise the risk of burns, take these precautions:

· Assume that all welding objects are hot

· Move the work piece to a safe location

· Remove combustible materials from the area and cover combustible materials with appropriate welding safety equipment such as a welding blanket

· Use welding covers to prevent spatter passing through any openings in the area

· Keep appropriate fire fighting equipment nearby

· Wear PPE

Ultraviolet light

Eye injury causes approximately one-quarter of all welding injuries and many of these cases are caused by exposure of the eye to ultraviolet light. Damage from ultraviolet light can happen quickly, causing arc eye or arc flash, a very painful injury that causes eye swelling and pain. Some injury caused by ultraviolet light are permanent and non-reversible. The welder must wear the appropriate eye protection for the type of welding and visual needs of the task. Also, ensure that adequate welding safety equipment is used, such as welding screens and curtains are used to protect the eyes of those in the vicinity.

Noise

Welding processes generate noise, some more than others. It is often difficult to reduce noise in welding environments but the appropriate use of welding safety equipment such as welding screens and curtains which have a level of acoustic reduction.

Safety First Manufacturing supply a wide range of PPE and Welding Safety Equipment.

Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing.

Welding injuries and how to prevent them

Filed in : Industrial Safety

Welding is probably one of the most hazardous occupations out there, perhaps bar the professional pursuit of that poor dude that dangles 500ft in the air on the end of a very rickety looking crane.  If constant focus was put on the possible injuries that can be caused by welding, the profession would more than likely fizzle out, because no-one would want to step up to the mark and take on the role.

Welding is a skilled trade.  It’s difficult to master.  Not just anyone can pick up a blow torch and knock together a car frame.   The danger factor of welding is increased 10-fold if it’s carried out by someone without the adequate training.  Even when a welder is trained and highly skilled, there is a much higher risk than in other ‘normal’ occupations that something could go awry.  Luckily, there is welding safety equipment available that can limit these risks and potentially save a life.

Put into simple terms, welding is the action of joining two pieces of metal together by using heat.  The heat melts the metal and thus the two ends of the metal become one.  Wherever there is extreme heat, there is the risk of injury.  Burns are at the top of the list when it comes to the ‘welding nasties’.  Welding burns are often very serious, even fatal.  This is due to the extremely intense heat and pressure that are part of the welding process.  If metal can be melted during the process, the skin doesn’t hold out much hope to be honest.  It goes without saying, that the welder must use the correct welding safety equipment.  It’s a total pre-requisite.  Without the correct welding gear, the welder could find himself in a very painful situation.  A dab of Germolene after the event isn’t going to do the trick, unfortunately.  A good fire retardant jacket, leg protection such as chaps and hand protection such as welding mitts will help avoid a nasty burn.

Exposure to UV light is another of the risks.  Ultraviolet radiation is created by the electric arc that results from the welding process.  UV exposure can have extremely damaging results on ones eyes, causing what is commonly known as ‘arc eye’.  This very painful condition which is much akin to having an eye full of sand, except you can’t wash it out.  It has to be treated with eye drops.  It doesn’t always go away.  The use of good welding safety equipment such as full eye protection is a must.  A welding screen to block the arc from the surrounding areas is crucial, to protect those in the vicinity.

Of course, there are other potential dangers when it comes to welding, probably too many to list here.  The one factor is that they all can be prevented or limited with the use of welding safety equipment.  Make sure you don’t end up on the injury statistics lists.  Protect yourself by investing in the best welding equipment.

Safety First Manufacturing Ltd is a supplier of safety clothing and equipment for the welding and allied industries.

Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing Ltd.

Health and safety regulations are good for your business

Filed in : Industrial Safety

Health and safety strategy within business is often viewed as a bureaucratic burden.  In fact, some business managers believe that it actually works against efficiency and profitability.  Negative attitudes are sometimes simply historical and have never been challenged.  Also, various deep-set cultural beliefs and attitudes can act as barriers to the successful implementation to health and safety strategies.  These attitudes can be prevalent in the industries that we work in, such as construction and industrial, where traditional shop floor beliefs can hamper health and safety initiatives.  The irony of this is that these two sectors need an enthusiastic approach to health and safety more than most.

Let’s face it, there does need to be a certain degree of common sense when implementing health and safety at work.  The media love a good ‘over the top’ health and safety story.   At times there are instances of ‘over zealous’ health and safety officers pushing the boundaries to the periphery of sensible rationale and the media grab these stories with glee.  Reports of ‘over enthusiastic’ health and safety guidelines can actuate a myth and a comedic view of health and safety as a whole.  The HSE have a ‘myth busting’ section on their website: www.hse.gov.uk/myth.  It’s worth a read.

The benefits and costs

More than 200 people are killed at work in the UK each year.  This doesn’t include work related road deaths.  On average, approximately 30 million work days are lost each year due to occupational ill health and injury which costs the country’s economy around 3% of the GDP.  Around 2 million people in the UK currently suffer from conditions that they believe are a result of occupational health issues.  As well as businesses suffering direct financial loss as a result of inadequate health and safety, there is also the loss of reputation and morale amongst the work force.

In short, the benefits of good health and safety, very much outweigh the costs.  Employers who adopt adequate health and safety strategies enjoy lower employee absence and turnover rates, fewer accidents, reduced threat of legal action, improved standing amongst peers, better reputation among investors and a markedly more chirpy workforce.   Workers who can see that their employers are taking their health and safety seriously tend to become more committed to their work.  It works by default – looking after staff sends the message that they are valued and that their work is an important contribution to the company.  It’s no surprise then, to discover that companies that invest in health and safety also see increased growth generally.

So, if you were asked if you could improve morale, save money and improve productivity, would you?

Safety First Manufacturing Ltd is a supplier of welding and construction safety equipment.

Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing Ltd.

Full length welders jacket

Filed in : Fun Stuff

Our bespoke manufacturing service is designed to overcome all those issues that arise from the need to source something out of the ordinary.

We’re really proud of this full length welders jacket and thought it was so impressive that it deserved a bit of special treatment.  As you can see, it’s modeled here by our very own, in-house Keanu (aka, Production Manager, Gareth Neale).

It’s amazing where our garments end up sometimes (examples include Pinewood Studios and the opening of the London Olympics!).

The moral of the story is, whatever you need, no matter how unusual, always speak to us…we’re experts at delivering custom safety products.

 

The importance of welding safety training

Filed in : Industrial Safety

There are many potential hazards related to welding.  Some of the greatest dangers for welders include radiation; chemical hazards from gas, fumes and vapours; electric shock; burns caused by sparks; high temperatures and hot surfaces and burns caused by fires and explosions due to flammable substances in the area.

It can often be a misconception that welding operators who have been in the profession for a period of time are skilled welders as a pre-requisite.  Years of experience do not necessarily guarantee safe working practices.  To ensure safety in your welding environment, your staff should undertake regular training to reinforce safe working practices and the use of welding safety equipment such as welding screens and welding blankets.

 

Welding can arguably be described as one of the more dangerous working environments, so the training of safety-conscious working practices should be a high priority.  Despite the obvious benefit of avoiding injury and loss of life, there are benefits to companies with regard to less liability, increased job satisfaction and improved welding efficiency.

Welding safety training can teach welding safety principles, including the following:

-          Personal safety

-          Appropriate use of welding safety equipment such as welding screens and curtains and welding blankets

-          Safe use of gases

-          Electrical Safety

-          Adjustments of current and voltage control

-          Selection of correct wire

-          Correct set up of a MIG machine

-          Correct use of torch angle

-          Rectification of faults.

Welding safety training can enable the welder to:

-          Appreciate the importance of welding safety practices and to be aware of the     consequences of not following adequate welding safety procedures

-          Develop a better awareness of the risks present in a welding environment

-          Correct welding techniques, which support safe practice

-          Adopting safer welding practices can enhance skill levels.

Less liability for companies

If you have a welding environment within your company, one of the biggest benefits for you will be the decreased likelihood of liability.  Even if your welders are experienced, they may not necessarily be following correct welding safety procedures, or using adequate welding safety equipment such as welding screens and welding blankets.  Unfortunately, the fact that inadequate safety procedures are not being followed may only become apparent when an accident occurs.

Improved job satisfaction for your welding staff

Training leads to increased job satisfaction.  An understanding of the correct procedures for a job and knowing the importance of it will give an employee a sense of his or her potential as a valued employee.

 

Safety First Manufacturing Ltd is a supplier of welding and construction safety equipment.

Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing Ltd.

Construction safety – slips, trips and falls on the construction site

Filed in : Industrial Safety

Slips and trips are the cause of several thousand injuries each year for construction workers.  Approximately one thousand of these injuries involve fractured bones or dislocated joints, so every relevant construction safety step needs to be considered to avoid this troublesome and costly problem.

Effective management of work areas and access routes could prevent most incidents of trips and falls on the construction site.  Everyone should make a contribution in assessing areas and reporting potential problems.  All employees should feel an obligation to help spot hazards, and report them to the relevant safety officer.  Employees should clean up their own work areas, remove waste, clear away equipment and clean up spills.

A summary of hazards with suggestions for methods of prevention:

Substances on floor surfaces that reduce traction, such as water, oil, mud, sand and ice.

- Treat surfaces with suitable coverings such as stone chippings (for mud) or grit (for ice).  Slippery areas should be clearly signposted until the surface has been made safe.  Consider the use of anti-slip safety matting.  There are often chronic trouble spots on construction sites.   Specific locations often become regular hazard zones due to the accumulation of substance on floor areas.  Be certain to regularly inspect these areas as part of your construction safety plan.

Obstacles such as building materials or waste.

- Ensure that everyone keeps their work and storage areas tidy.  Plan deliveries to ensure that the amount of materials on site is minimised at any one time.  Provide designated areas for waste collection.  Ensure that there are adequate storage facilities.  Ensure all areas are well-lit.

Uneven surfaces

- Floor surfaces and walk ways should be inspected on a regular basis and any deficiencies found in these areas should be promptly rectified.

Falls from scaffolds

- Ensure that there are guardrails in place.  Consider the use of safety netting.
Trailing cables

- Where possible, run cables at high level.  Where this is not possible, use cable covers.

Not wearing the appropriate footwear

- All workers should wear the correct footwear with soles that provide good traction for walking in potentially hazardous areas.

 Inadequate construction safety when working above ground

- Use safety belts or harnesses when working above ground.  Install guard rails.  Ensure floor openings are clearly marked by the use of warning signs.  Ensure that agreed and proper procedures are adhered to.

Individuals not paying enough attention

- It is inevitable that at times, individuals will not pay due attention when walking in hazardous areas.  Encourage workers to play a part in their own safety and provide regular information on how to prevent injury by falls, trips and slips in the construction environment.

Safety First Manufacturing Ltd is a supplier of welding and construction safety equipment.  Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing Ltd.

Minimising health and safety risks for welders – a guide

Filed in : Industrial Safety

Welding and cutting operations present a huge number of hazards. These apply not only to the welder, but also to any other personnel present in the vicinity of the welding. Some hazards are specific to welding, others are more general. It is extremely important to assess all the hazards present and put adequate measures in place to minimise risk to those present in the workshop.

Both the employer and employee have responsibility to be aware of the dangers present via a health and safety assessment and to put in place/adhere to the necessary precautions.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should not be used solely as the primary method of reducing hazards, but should by no means be side tracked. Furthermore, welding screens and curtains, welding blankets and general welding safety equipment should be appropriately used.

The hazards

These are some of the most common hazards present in a welding environment.

Electrical

This is one of the most serious hazards present in a welding environment. Live electronic components present a huge risk of shock. The welding equipment should be installed by qualified personnel and tested to ensure that it is properly earthed. Appropriate PPE will help prevent the welder from electric shock.

Gases

Several gases are used in welding and cutting including fuel gases, inert gases and cryogenic gases, some of which are highly flammable. Cryogenic gases can cause severe tissue damage to the body. Gas regulators should only be fitted to cylinders using the correct tools.

Heat and fire

A lot of heat is produced from many different sources in a welding environment. To minimise the risk of burns, take these precautions:

· Assume that all welding objects are hot

· Move the work piece to a safe location

· Remove combustible materials from the area and cover combustible materials with appropriate welding safety equipment such as a welding blanket

· Use welding covers to prevent spatter passing through any openings in the area

· Keep appropriate fire fighting equipment nearby

· Wear PPE

Ultraviolet light

Eye injury causes approximately one-quarter of all welding injuries and many of these cases are caused by exposure of the eye to ultraviolet light. Damage from ultraviolet light can happen quickly, causing arc eye or arc flash, a very painful injury that causes eye swelling and pain. Some injury caused by ultraviolet light are permanent and non-reversible. The welder must wear the appropriate eye protection for the type of welding and visual needs of the task. Also, ensure that adequate welding safety equipment is used, such as welding screens and curtains are used to protect the eyes of those in the vicinity.

Noise

Welding processes generate noise, some more than others. It is often difficult to reduce noise in welding environments but the appropriate use of welding safety equipment such as welding screens and curtains which have a level of acoustic reduction.

Safety First Manufacturing supply a wide range of PPE and Welding Safety Equipment.

Sharon Shaw is the Marketing Manager at Safety First Manufacturing.