Skip to Content
Free Consultations 888-918-9890

What Are the Risks of Welding?


Types of Welding and the Risks Associated with This Dangerous but Important Career

Welding is a fabrication process in which two or more parts are fused together through heat, pressure, or both that join together as the parts cool. Welding is used across a range of industries, like aerospace, automotive, energy, and construction. It is used to join metals, thermoplastics, and wood. Plus, it is used to create artwork. When it comes to welding, the possibilities are truly limitless. There are four main types of welding, including the following:

  • MIG – Gas metal arc welding

MIG welding is a welding process in which an electric arc forms between a consumable wire electrode and the workpiece. This process uses inert gases or gas mixtures as shielding gas. Argon and helium are usually used for the MIG welding of non-ferrous metals like aluminum.

  • TIG – Gas tungsten arc welding

Tungsten inert gas welding is a type of arc welding that produces the weld using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Tungsten is one of the toughest metal materials because it will not dissolve or burn. TIG uses an external gas supply like argon or helium. It is common for aerospace and auto to use TIG welding and other industrial markets.

  • STICK – Shielded metal arc welding

In shielded metal arc welding, an arc between a covered electrode and weld pool is used to create a weld. It is also called SMAW welding and is used in maintenance, repair, construction, industrial fabrication, and more. It is one of the oldest types of welding, dating back to 1890 when Charles L. Coffin patented them.


Flux-cored arc welding is similar to gas metal arc welding in the sense that it is used for welding ferrous metals and is especially helpful for applications in which high deposition rates are needed. This form of welding was introduced in the 1950s and is the most productive of the manual welding process.

Advantages of Welding

  • Welding produces a permanent connection.
  • The costs incurred for the welding process are connecting the most economical when it comes to the use of the material and fabrication costs.
  • Welding can be done in the field as well as in factories.
  • The connection weld creates can be stronger than the initial material when using filler and with the right technique.

Risks of Welding

As useful and multifaceted of trade as welding is, it is not without its fair share of risks. There is a variety of health hazards that are associated with welding, cutting, and brazing operations like exposures to metal fumes and to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The four most common welding hazards and risks include:

  • Exposure to fumes and gases

Acute exposure to welding fume and gases can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as dizziness and nausea. Welding fumes can contain oxides of the metals in the material being welded.

  • Physical hazards

The actual process of welding can lead to physical damage as well. Welding can cause burns, eye damage, electrical shock, cuts, and injury to the toes and fingers.

  • Electric shock

During arc welding procedures, electrical circuits are used to melt metals, which creates a risk of electric shock. Most commonly, this happens when a welder touches two metal objects with a voltage difference between them.

  • Fire and explosion

Welding generates sparks that can spray up to 35 feet and can cause fire hazards. For this reason, flammable chemicals should be kept away from welding spaces to avoid any fire that might damage the whole facility.

Welding Safety Precautions

Fortunately, there are some steps that welders can take to prevent welding-related incidents and injuries. In order to reduce these instances, welders would do well to practice the following precautions and tips:

  • Wear protective equipment and take proper care of equipment

In order to protect yourself from a welding incident like the ones above, it is necessary to wear protective gloves, goggles, and helmets. Any welders who plan to handle this equipment should be fully trained in hazards and equipment operation. This will prevent you from inhaling fumes and gases. Welders should make sure they have adequate ear protection, eye and face protection, heat and radiation protection, fume protection, electrical shock protection, and foot protection.

  • Clear working environment

Welding needs to be done in a safe area that is free from clutter and without fire risks. Welding should also be done in a dry location. It is important to know where your tools and equipment are located. This makes the job easier and makes sure you do not misplace a dangerous item.

  • Protect against explosions

It is not advisable to use an enclosed space like a tanker, drum, or pipe that can cause an explosion. The gas cylinders used in the welding process are under high pressure, so it is advisable to stay far enough away to avoid sparks or slag and protect them from excessive heat.

When Should You Contact a Lawyer After a Welding Accident?

The welding process involves extreme fire and heat, so it is essential to be aware of the safety tips above in order to do this job safely. However, even if you are following safety precautions to a tee, welding accidents still happen. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 500,000 workers are injured annually due to welding accidents. It is wise to hire a personal injury lawyer for any situation that includes the potential for a large payout or complicated matters of liability and insurance coverage. Studies have shown that those with an attorney recover 3.5 times more money than those who are unrepresented. If at any point in your career you were injured from welding or have developed a lung disease or other illness, you might be able to file a lawsuit against your employer under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

The government, especially the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has the ultimate responsibility to protect the U.S. worker and must take the lead. OSHA requires responsibility when it comes to the safe handling and cutting of the welding equipment and the safe use of the cutting or welding process. OSHA requires that railing or other suitable fall protection be provided. Furthermore, welding cable and other equipment must be kept clear of passageways, ladders, and stairways. They also require that eye protection and specific types of gear be worn and that the workers are protected from arc welding rays. If these requirements were not followed, along with other specific criteria, this will benefit your case and help you receive what you are owed. Our team is familiar with the requirements that need to be met in personal injury cases and can help you get the justice you deserve.

If you have been injured on the job while welding, or are dealing with another personal injury case, call Belushin Law Firm, P.C. at (888) 918-9890 or contact us online.