Workplace safety is always an important topic in the welding industry. Welding is, by its very nature, a job that involves a lot of dangers. People who engage in welding must be well trained and extremely careful so they avoid a serious accident.
All of this is true across the entire welding industry, but it is especially true with aluminum, a type of metal that has its own particular safety concerns. Aluminum welding in Phoenix, AZ is a different process than many other types of welding. Certain characteristics of the metal require extra safety precautions to be followed to ensure the working environment is safe for everyone.
With this in mind, here are a few safety tips to follow when engaging in aluminum welding:
- Aluminum’s appearance can be misleading: Unlike most other types of metals, aluminum’s appearance does not change at all, even when very hot. As a result, it can be occasionally difficult to discern what material is already hot and what is cold. To make matters even more potentially dangerous, aluminum has approximately five times the total amount of thermal conductivity as found in steel, meaning it gets hotter and stays hotter to the touch for much longer. Therefore, it is extremely important that welders stay organized with hot and cold materials, and always wear weather gloves when in a work environment to reduce the chances of severely burning themselves.
- Aluminum welding comes with the risk of electric shocks: This is not an issue unique to aluminum—steel weldments can also create electrical shock. The reasons for this shock occurring in aluminum, however, are different. In steel welding, there is typically a high-frequency arc starting option used at the start, which then gets turned off later in the job. For aluminum, this arc must remain active throughout the weld’s entire duration, which makes the risk of electrical shock much greater. To protect yourself from potential shock, make sure you have insulated the welding system extremely well and are regularly engaging in proper grounding.
- Aluminum is an extremely reflective type of metal: Radiated light is an even greater concern in aluminum welding than it is in steel welding. This high amount of reflectivity makes aluminum a bigger threat for injuries caused by light, including eyesight damage and accidents caused by a person suddenly being exposed to a blinding flash. Safety measures should be employed to shield workers from the light, including light-blocking curtains and long-sleeved clothes.
- Aluminum fumes can be dangerous: These fumes are known to be a throat irritant when they are inhaled, and can also lead to chronic illness down the road after regular exposure. To protect themselves from these fumes, welders should make sure they are positioned in a way to avoid breathing the fumes directly, and also employ local ventilation systems whenever possible.
While aluminum welding can pose some dangers, it is an extremely useful trade. For more information about the services we provide with aluminum welding in Phoenix, AZ, contact us today at Metal Pro, Inc.