No announcement yet.

Safety Corner

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Safety Corner

    I'm glad that this forum was started. Thanks, Miller Electric!
    So, here's what I hope to be my addition to the forum/trade,
    "The Safety Corner".

    Some things are often overlooked even by experianced tradesmen. It seems that we (me included) get complacent about safety. What we got away with yesterday may bite us today. Lets look at the basics.

    Wear close fitting fire resistant clothing; 100% cotton, wool, leather or welding jackets when working with sparks, arcs and flame. Don't wear clothing with frays they catch fire very quickly.
    No pant cuffs, open pockets or low cut neck collars. Button your sleeve cuffs and wear gauntlet style gloves. Useing contruction type with the cloth back is not a good idea. The cloth readly burns thru. (Ask me I know!- dumb)
    Wear good steel toed boots with heat and slip resistent soles. Also, protect your head. At least use a skull cap if not a hard hat or both. Nothing is more important than protecting your eyes, safety glasses with side shields are a must. Use the proper shade of lens in your helmet or googles for the process your useing. Simple rule - more heat = darker lens. Even oxy-fuel cutting is dangerous to the eye. Get comfortable cutting googles, beleave me it helps! Anyone who has suffered thru a flash burn will tell you prevention is better than the cure. Protect your hearing with ear plugs or head sets. Ear plugs will also prevent sparks from entering your ear canal. It's not fun when that happens! I use a head set when doing short term loud work like grinding, hammering, chipping, etc.. And, I wear ear plugs for long term work like MIG welding in a tank or even mowing the lawn.
    Work safely and be sure to go home with all ten fingers.

    Looking forward to next time, Kevin.
    Welding is hot and it's the coolest job you'll ever have.

  • #2
    On this same subject,

    Here is an article I did for a 4x4 magazine that also deals with some safety issues:

    20 general ways to welding bliss (not wedding bliss)

    1. Size or pick the machine for the work you do most. Machines have an amperage rating which determine the material thickness you can weld. If you need to weld aluminum twice a year, you may want to job that out and just purchase a machine that does steel.
    2. Consumable matching. If you are running .030 wire in you MIG welder, make sure the liner, drive rolls and contact tips match. Any mismatch will cause feeding and weld consistency problems.
    3. Pick the right wire size for the job. Don't use .035 wire to weld 22ga steel. As a rule of thumb, the wire shouldn't be bigger than the material thickness. If it is, you'll spend most of your time blowing holes in the base metal instead of melting the weld wire.
    4. Good ground connection cable condition. Loose, bad connections or poor cables will cause heat. That heat is a loss of welding current you should be using at the arc. You can't jump start a car with a lamp cord so don't weld with one either. A welder needs heavy cables in good condition to weld effectively.
    5. Don't be afraid to change contact tips. They are NOT made of gold and the Do wear out.
    6. Get a good helmet with a nice view area and keep the lens clean. You can't weld what you can't see. The electronic helmets are nice. You can adjust shading to your preference and they allow you to see where you are starting to weld before it turns dark.
    7. Material prep. Paint and rust are your enemy. Clean the joint area before welding with a grinder/sander or other metal cleaner.
    8. Joint fit up is critical. Keep joint tight. Weld joints are usually seams not holes and gaps. This is mostly true unless you require a gap end to get proper penetration in thicker materials.
    9. Tack joints on alternate sides to reduce pulling. Tack tubes the same way and weld in sections keeping the gun angles the same if possible. Very few people can weld nonstop around tube and keep gun angles proper. Changing from a push to a pull or pull to push will change penetration of the weld and joint appearance.
    10. When welding thin material, you may want to place a thicker piece of copper or aluminum behind the weld area to help "sink" the heat away to prevent warpage. This also will help with burn through.
    11. Gas selection. For MIG steel, a 75/25 Argon/Co2 mix will give great results. Straight Co2 can also be used to get more penetration but this gas will also produce more spatter. Typical flow rates are 25-30 CFH. Too high of flow will cause turbulence and contamination. Too low flow will not give enough shielding of the weld area and also produce porosity of the weld bead. For MIG or TIG aluminum, 100% Argon gas is used. Flow rate will depend on cup size with most flow rates being near 12-20.
    12. Clamps, vise grips and magnetic squares are your friend.
    13. If you are welding on a table, get one with a thick metal top. A top with a 1/4" steel plate or thicker will not warp while you are welding on it. Do not place a metal plate on top of a wooden table. It will still burn the wood. I know it sounds stupid but people still do it.
    14. When TIG welding steel, grind your tungsten to a point using a fine grit grinding wheel dedicated only to tungsten. Grinding anything else on that wheel can cause the tungsten to become contaminated.
    15. TIG tungsten are as follows. 2% Thoriated (red band) for steels and Pure (green band) for Aluminum. This is true unless you have an Inverter type TIG machine. Most Inverter type TIG units can run on 2% Thoriated or Ceriated for everything.
    16. When to push or pull. MIG steel- push or pull, just stay consistent while welding. Changing from a push to a pull during a weld will affect weld penetration and appearance. This is because it normally takes a slight change in wire speed when changing from pushing the gun to pulling it. In TIG there is no exception. Always push the torch at a 10 to 15 degree angle. This makes sure you have proper gas coverage and cleaning of the weld zone. If you pull the torch, it will cause the weld bead to appear black and contaminated.
    17. When welding thick to thin or thinner material, concentrate or point the gun more at the thicker material and roll the bead to the thinner material. This will help with adequate penetration on both the thick and thin piece.
    18. When preparing to weld, especially in TIG, get comfortable. Prop your self up so you are not suspending the gun or torch in mid air. Get something to put under your hand to get situated for proper weld angles. In MIG, use both hands to grasp the gun. This helps stabilize the gun and reduces the chance of jerky movements. Do a dry run with the gun or torch to get positioned properly for the joint you are attempting to weld.
    19. Don't be afraid to take a night course at the local tech school. They are good resources for the particular weld process you are trying to learn. They also cover some basic metallurgy for matching filler metal and base metals. You local welding distributor can also help you with filler metal selections.
    20. As always, safety first. Welding sleeves and gloves keep you from burning your skin. The rays from a welding arc will burn you faster than sittin on the beach in Panama City. Plus, I'm sure your wife won't appreciate the stink of burnt skin when you roll into bed after a night of welding on your racer. Welding helmets are a must. At least protect your eyes. Anyone with a good case of welder flash can tell you they would rather take a mixture of salt and acid in the eyes. A welder cap or beanie is nice too. Some of the nice ones cover your ears. You haven't lived until you are welding under your rig and a hot molten weld spark rolls down your ear and parks itself next to your brain and sizzles for a while. Keep flammable material away from weld sparks. This is another common sense thing that gets over looked. I too am guilty of this one. The most common fire hazard being rags laying around your work area.

    Well, I think I win the prize for the longest post!!


    • #3
      Andy, I was making the last MIG weld on a 36' section of fence, outdoors thankfully, and a mineral spirits soaked rag nearby burst into flames. I had kicked the rag out of the way, but not far enough. If I had been inside the garage the results might well have been serious. As it was, I simply sacrificed an old face towel.


      • #4
        I always seem to blow out a knee in my bluejeens and a couple of times I was welding under a race car when my knee started getting real hot. It actually burnt all the freyed ends of material and started my pants on fire
        Needless to say, I now take a small thin fire blanket to put over my lap under the frame jig.



        • #5



          • #6
            A couple of other things. It is the things that you just don't think about that get you hurt and rushing is the biggest culprit. Always make sure that you have on dry clothes and gloves. My first public job was building brinks and wells fargo armored trucks. I had worked all day in 100 degree heat and was leaving the shop. one of the trucks that was leaving that day had a broken muffler mount. They backed it into the shop, I layed on the ground {no creeper} hooked up my stick welder and struck an arc while holding the frame of the truck with my left hand. my gloves and shirt were soaked with sweat and I got a very good ground through my body to the concrete. It blew me out from under the truck, shocked and burned me very bad. Every body knows not to weld in water but who thinks about sweating too much. next head protection, was inside a portable bridge form welding, another welder was on top, burned through and a very large piece of molten steel landed on top of my head and neck. So when doing any job, use proper safety equipment and stop just for a minute and think how can I hurt myself doing this and if working with others, how can what they are doing hurt me when I have me hood down and can't see.


            • #7
              HATE TO ADMIT IT.

              If we weld long enough we become fearless of our equipment and our trade skill. Once I was welding eyebolts to steel casing on a jobsite where safety was the biggest issue. I had a skull cap, earplugs, hard hat and hood, cotton jacket, flash glasses-the whole nine yards or so I thought. I was burning hot and in a hurry when a large piece of slag embedded itself on the inner side of my left calf. Guess what? I now own and use leggings for many jobs.

              I have many a pair of fish net socks to match PISTOL8's collection. I had a neighbor bring over some 16 gauge material needing a quick repair. I threw on my jacket and hood and went to tigging. It was maybe a 15 minute job. Stupidity lurked that day. I had been working around the house and thought nothing of my cotton shorts. Thankfully it only gave my upper legs a minor "sunburn". What if I had welded 30 minutes or more?

              Just my contribution to say we forget we are vulernable to injury when we forget safety.

              One more thing. For years I never gave a thought to welding with my wedding band on. Well guys do NOT do it. One of my clients had another welder working on his equipment one day, (before I picked up his business), and here's what happened. The guy had been working all day in the summer heat and was sweat soaked. He had forgotten one weld as he finishing up. He had removed his gloves and went ahead to run the last bead. He gave no thought to resting his left hand against the frame. The sweat, the AC arc, and no gloves caused his gold wedding band to literally melt into his finger. He is alive and well minus a finger, but does not weld anymore. I did not witness this, but am told it is why I have the business today.



              • #8
                Great subject weldteacher. New to the forum and was reading thru some posts so I thought I would add a few. Like Hawk said rings can arc off and so can a metal watch band. I was working with a guy who's watch band arc'd off on the side of a tanker he was welding on. I did not see it happen but seen the scar. I switched to an all velcro band to prevent this. Just about any jewelry is a safety hazard, if you are not aware of it, so be careful. One more thing I have seen over looked by many, if you smoke, DO NOT carry a butane type lighter on your person. Gas under pressure in a sealed container = a small but powerful bomb. Someone at one of our sister plants lost a leg over this one. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Anyway, great being here and as always "Be smart, Be safe".