It’s one of the most regulated areas of the construction industry, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Welding accidents injure over 500,000 workers every year – and the injuries sustained due to a welding malfunction can lead to severe burns, and even death.
Though great strides have been made in construction worker safety, over 500,000 workers are injured each year in welding accidents. Given the heat and energy required to weld a piece of metal to another to form a bond that will bear weight and withstand force, it’s not surprising that workers are injured in welding accidents.
Types of Welding Accidents
Welding involves fire and extremely high temperatures. Given the inherent dangers of welding, the risk of injury is always present. Injuries commonly result from:
- Extreme heat and burns
- Fire due to sparks, the presence of gasoline and other flammable materials, and ignited fumes
- Fatigue due to overworking, double shifts and multiple shifts
- Light headedness due to fumes
- Eye injuries
- Too-tight quarters between workers
OSHA has regulations pertaining to welding, cutting, and brazing. When these welding regulations are not followed, and a worker is injured as a result, he or she may be entitled to compensation through a construction accident lawsuit against the owner or general contractor. Depending on the severity of the injury, compensation may be awarded for both lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
Dangerous fumes that are released during welding operations are derived from the following:
- Base material being welded or the filler material that is used
- Coatings and paints on the metal being welded, or coatings converting the electrode
- Shielding gases supplied from cylinders
- Chemical reactions resulting from the action of ultraviolet light from the arc and heat
- Process and consumables used
- Contaminants in the air, for example vapors from cleaners and degreasers
Exposure to welding smoke can cause lung, heart, kidney, and central nervous system problems.