Welding Secrets: Look After Yourself, Your Body, Your Health & Safety!


Have you noticed that us "old welders" all tend to have something wrong with either our knees or our åears?

I'm in my 50's now and I wish I had listened to the older generation when I was young and I thought I knew it all.
"Don't kneel on that cold floor " they would say. "Where are your safety glasses?"  Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing so if there is anybody out there who has the sense to listen to the voice of experience...? Listen!

1. Please do not kneel down without some sort of pad when you are welding.
I know it's a nuisance to keep finding that pad, but when you get into your 50's and you want to play tennis or football with the grandchildren,your knees won't be worn out with arthritis like so many of us.Trust me please. It will happen if you abuse your body.
 
2. Always take the time to put on a pair of safety glasses before you go grinding or cutting.
I've been to out patients more times than I care to admit to have a "foreign body" removed from an eye. The staff at the hospital knew me by my first name and were always professional but disapproving. The sparks are often hot and will stick to your eyeball. You will know when you have something stuck in there!
Try not to rub your eyes in case you push the piece further into your eye. Look in a mirror and you will probably see a spec stuck onto the eye.
It may come out by itself overnight but the longer you leave it, the sorer it will become. Admit defeat early and popalong to outpatients to see a doctor. He or she will get you to lay on a bed while they put eye dye and anesthetic drops into your eye. Then they will ask you to keep your eye open and try not to blink while they use a needle to try to scrape the debris off the surface of your eye. My tip here is to look past them at an object across the room. By doing this, the needle will remain out of focus and won't worry you....Of course it's always better to avoid allthis and wear safety glasses or a full face visor screen in the first place?
 
3. Try to use ear plugs or ear muffs when you are grinding or doing something loud with power tools.
I have limited hearing already due to knowing better and I know of 2 collegues who suffer from "Tinitus"
(ringing in the ear constantly day and night). That would drive me mad so think about it!
It is so easy to damage your hearing! Wear ear defenders!

4. Tacking up weld joints- it's all too easy to turn your head or screw up your face and shut your eyes when tacking up multiple joints on a production job.
Please take the time to bother to wear a welding head shield.
You've seen the old men in the photos of rural Greece with all the wrinkles in their faces. That is what your face will look like long before it should due to the damage the UV light will do to your skin, let alone  the risk of developing skin cancer on your face so look after yourself! Wear a mask!

5. Wear the proper safety boots when welding or gas cutting.
I have a bad burn scar on the top of my foot due tothinking I knew better and wearing a pair of trainers while welding something in the overhead position. A lump of molten steel dropped onto the top of the trainer and lodged in the lace hole before burning it's way through the top of the shoe and into my sock and foot. I was hopping around trying to get my trainer off but it was too late. Very painful so wear the correct footwear!
I now wear steel toe capped (dealer type) boots that are slip on and have no laces or ledges where sparks can lodge.

Well, that's enough of me ranting about safety.  It's up to you now! Please take the care to look after yourself and you might reach mid life in pretty good shape  

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