Alongside the perhaps obvious dangers of working with a flame hot enough to cut through metal, often working near tanks of incredibly combustible gases, there are particular dangers from noise and vibration when welding.
While TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is a relatively quiet process which does not normally produce dangerous noise levels, other electric arc welding processes; including MMA, MAG and flux core welding, can often generate harmful levels of noise. In addition to this, the environment in which these activities take place is often full of other high level noises, and so it is imperative that hearing protection and noise control are taken seriously to avoid damage to employees’ hearing, as well as maintaining safe communication among the employees within the environment.
Some ways to decrease noise issues include:
- Ensuring the most appropriate set up of the equipment:
- Reducing air pressure while cutting can reduce some of the associated noise
- Acetylene can be more expensive than propane, but can cut faster, reducing overall noise exposure over time
- Welding carefully will avoid the need to grind, gouge or rework the weld
- Use hearing protection appropriately, and ensure hat it fits and is in good condition (make sure that ear-plugs sit comfortably within the ear, and that all seals on earmuffs are intact and well fitted)
It is rare for welding and cutting processes to create too much harmful vibration, however the use of hand-help power tools for activities such as grinding or reworking can expose workers to dangerous levels of vibration.
Some simple tips to minimise vibration dangers include:
Ensuring proper and thorough maintenance of tools: blunt blades, warped grinding disks and blunt drill bits and chisels are far more likely to cause dangerous levels of vibration than well maintained, sharp tools.
Keeping your hands warm can help to reduce vibration problems, as well as taking regular breaks – changing roles or tasks throughout the day can help to avoid repetitive strain issues by spreading the burden of work across different muscle groups and postures.
Don’t grip tools too hard. Gripping firmly but not tightly will help reduce the risks of vibration related injury.
What if I have already been injured?
If you or someone you care for has been injured as a result of vibration or noise in the workplace, or in another way through the welding process, you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today to find out how we can help you get the pay out you deserve.