Welding safety tip.

We like to regularly touch on welding safety in these blogs to keep our customers aware that there is always a possibility of an accident while welding. Something can and will happen at the last minute if care and planning is not taken. A few years ago, one of my best friends in the welding industry, now retired, who has welded more pipe than most people will ever see, worked off of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and rose to welding management for a major oil company, experienced a severe accident doing what he and many others do every day…weld.

Since his early retirement, “Don” (not his real name) has become a prolific metal art man, a real folk artist who is getting regional notoriety for his work. He was as experienced as can be, but that is probably what contributed to his accident while he was welding. Don was welding at his welding table, putting together a decorative hand rail for a customer. He was leaning over as he normally did, welding and tacking things with his MIG, when all of a sudden, a ball of fire roars up in an explosion, and enters under his welding helmet from between his legs. Being hot, Don also had shucked off the normal welding sleeves and jacket he would have normally used.

He had no clue, no warning. And as he was knocked back, he inhaled part of the ball of fire. Taken to the top burn clinic in the state, he spent quite some time there in recovery. Fortunately, he lived to weld again…but not before he cleared out every rattle can of paint in the shop and from under his table. One small, but hot glob of metal had fallen onto a pressurized paint can, melted its way through the cap and through the discharge nozzle and into the can.

A person probably could not force this to happen if he or she tried, but it caught Don finally after literally millions of welds. So, take a lesson from Don, don’t weld in a shop full of dirty rags, paint cans, solvents, insecticides, gasoline or anything remotely flammable.  If you don’t have the room to properly store them while welding, move them outside. I don’t know how Don survived his experience. He was lucky to have lived and recovered. You may not be so lucky. Be aware. Be smart. Live