Welding safety is no accident

While many of the best welding safety practices seem like common sense, a survey of attendees at the National Safety Council’s 2007 Congress & Expo found that non-compliance with personal protective equipment protocols remains an issue. Some of the leading reasons: safety gear that fits poorly and looks ugly. Fortunately, recent efforts by PPE providers address these issues.

06/10/2008


Many of the best welding safety practices seem like common sense. Yet sadly, safety violations persist. In fact, a survey of attendees at the National Safety Council’s 2007 Congress & Expo found that non-compliance with personal protective equipment protocols remains an issue. Some of the leading reasons: safety gear that fits poorly and looks ugly. Fortunately, recent efforts by PPE providers address these very issues.
“Comfort and style promote greater utilization of safety gear,” said Bill Gardner, a product manager with Miller Electric Manufacturing Company. “The PPE industry has recognized that it can encourage greater use by combining the‘Four Fs’ when designing safety gear: fit, form, function and fashion.”
As a result, products not only look better, they provide increased levels of protection.

Auto-darkening welding helmets
Auto-darkening helmets with cutting-edge graphics burst on the scene about five years ago, and the graphics caused the helmets’ popularity to skyrocket. One trend is for welders and employers to split the helmet costs 50-50, with welders owning their helmet outright after three years.
In 2007, helmets became available with a “grind mode,” where the helmet lens did not darken from grinding sparks. The welder could now use one tool for both welding and grinding, eliminating the hassle of switching between a face shield and a welding helmet. High-end helmets can now electromagnetically sense the welding arc, so they darken even if the optical sensors are blocked. This especially helps when welding pipe out-of-position.
The well-dressed (safe) welder
Auto-darkening helmets typically provide numerous safety advantages over fixed shade helmets. To start, welders keep the helmet down longer because they do not need to flip the helmet up to reposition themselves. As a result, welders are:
Less subject to stray arc flashes from adjacent welding cells. Even in the undarkened state, these helmets protect against harmful UV and IR rays.
Less likely to develop neck fatigue or repetitive stress injuries.
Better equipped for projects with numerous tack welds (they use their helmet instead of turning their head and closing their eyes).

Gloves
TIG welders are notorious for not wearing a glove on the hand that feeds the filler rod. They claim they can’t feel the rod well enough. Some heavy-duty MIG/Stick gloves are so bulky that they make using a side-cutter to clip the end of the welding wire almost impossible. In both instances, welders are more likely to burn their hand.
To encourage use, today’s TIG and heavy-duty MIG/Stick gloves are incredibly form fitting. They curve with the hand to feel like a second skin. Strategically placed padding prevents wear in high-use areas, provides extra protection

This welder demonstrates basic welding safety gear. Specific applications may require additional equipment.

from heat and allows the TIG torch or MIG gun to fall naturally into the crease of the hand. Longer gauntlets protect the wrist area.

Jackets
Some of the newest full-leather welding jackets look and feel so good, they could be mistaken for premium biker jackets. They have “expandable” leather in key areas for added mobility so they won’t bind or feel tight, and “Barracuda-style” collars that button shut for better neck protection. The sleeves have adjustable snaps for better wrist protection.
Cloth jackets have advanced, too. Made from products like INDURA flame-resistant cloth, the jackets are sewn with Nomex flame-resistant thread and have options for snapping a leather apron to the front for added protection.

Respirators
The use of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) should see increasing use because OSHA now mandates reduced exposure levels for hexavalent chromium, a fume created when welding stainless steel. PAPRs protect against particles, fumes and dust, enabling welders to breathe continuously filtered air. Newer models are sleek, better fitting and weigh less %%MDASSML%% all features that promote their use.

Tom Sommers is a product manger for Miller Electric Manufacturing Company.

See the June issue of Plant Engineering for a feature on pipe welding.





The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me