Operating welding equipment can put a person at risk of injury or illness. Here are two steps that manufacturers who need their employees to use this type of equipment can take to prevent these staff members from getting hurt.

Inspect and maintain the facility's ventilation system

The process of welding two metal components to each other often results in the release of toxic fumes. These fumes can be comprised of many things, including hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and cyanide, to name just a few.

Inhalation of these fumes can be extremely dangerous and may cause serious long-term health problems. It can, for example, cause chronic respiratory disorders, such as silicosis and emphysema, and increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

To prevent these fumes from harming their employees, most manufacturers have vents in the welding areas of their facilities. These vents draw fumes away from the person using the equipment and push these fumes through a filtration system to safely remove the contaminants.

This type of extraction and filtration system is highly effective. However, like all forms of mechanical and electrical equipment, it can occasionally malfunction.

A malfunctioning vent which fails to fully remove toxic fumes produced by the welding process could have serious health consequences for the employee using the equipment.

As such, it is essential for manufacturers to ensure that all of the components of their ventilation and filtration systems are in good working order at all times.

The best way to do this is to set up an inspection and maintenance routine. Inspecting the ventilation system regularly will ensure that any faults are identified and fixed before they can put the safety of the facility's employees at risk, whilst performing routine maintenance will reduce the likelihood of dangerous faults arising in the first place.

Check the condition of the welding safety gear on a regular basis

Manufacturers who require their employees to use welding equipment must provide these individuals with several types of safety gear, in order to prevent them from sustaining injuries.

This gear may include UV-resistant safety goggles (to protect the wearer's eyes from the ultraviolet radiation that is created during the welding process), as well as a leather apron and long-sleeved leather gloves (to stop hot sparks produced by the equipment from burning the wearer's skin).

It is critical for those who wear this safety gear to check its condition at the beginning of each welding activity.

If there are any signs of deterioration (for example, if the safety goggles develop a crack or if the gloves develop holes), the employee should not put these items on. Instead, they should inform their manager and wait until the damaged items have been replaced before they continue using the welding equipment.