Welders have the highest-risk occupation in all of the construction industry, an industry already known for its hazards and high fatality rate. Welders face hazards like electrical shock, full-thickness burns, loss of vision, and brain damage. As a result, managers are responsible for ensuring their workers are aware of workplace hazards and for maintaining minimum safety standards set by OSHA.
Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, using figures from OSHA studies, reports that 1 in 250 construction workers will die from a welding injury. With over half a million American welders working today, we can conservatively expect 2,000 welding fatalities in our lifetime. That's not even mentioning the many more permanent injuries that welders will incur.
In today's blog, we take a look at what makes welding so dangerous, as well as the uniquely hazardous jobs welders do in different industries.
Underwater Welding Accidents
Without a doubt, underwater welding is the most dangerous subcategory of welding occupations. Most underwater welding takes place with the aid of robots or temporary dry chambers these days, but that doesn't make the job any less hazardous. Divers will still do what's called "wet welding," or welding while submerged. In either case, underwater welders have to do an already-dangerous job while subjected to incredible pressures and limited access to support.
One of the worst dangers underwater welders face is called "Delta P," or "differential pressure." Any two bodies of water with different volumes will have a difference in pressure; this difference is what creates flow from one body of water to another. When underwater welders are caught in this flow, it can leave them stuck underwater without help or hope of rescue. Experienced and highly-skilled divers have been killed by differences in pressure, which can subject divers to thousands of pounds of suction force.
Common high-risk areas for Delta P accidents include dams, drains, and other 'gateways' for water.
Arc Welding Accidents
Because arc welding uses electrical current to join metal together, it comes with unique hazards. One of the most common problems arc welders face is the risk of electric shock. That's why federal regulations require all outdoor work sites employing arc welders to waterproof workpieces.
Arc welders should be trained to check their equipment for correct installation on every job, report defects to supervisors, and make sure external connections are clean and tight. Workplaces should also have safety protocols in place to ensure no welders are within reach of each other if they're working on the same piece, that no welders wear jewelry on site, and that arc welders are checking their external connections on a daily basis.
If you were injured in an underwater welding accident, an arc welding accident, or similar industrial accidents, speak with Houston welding accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin to discuss your options. We offer free consultations to help you get answers and figure out the next step.