Welding is a skilled trade that involves the use of many tools including blow torches. Most construction workers use welding as a sub-skill to their main trade, such as a sheet metal worker who welds metal edges or a plumber who welds pipes. Because of its inherent danger, it is vital that each person receives thorough training; even a skilled welder risks injury every time they work. Over 1 in 250 construction workers will experience a fatal injury from welding over a working lifetime and many more will incur non-fatal injuries. A welding accident is often deemed a workplace accident and could qualify for a worker’s compensation claim. Seek the advice of an experienced work place injury attorney to determine if you have a case for damages.
Welding is an action where two pieces of metal are joined together by the use of heat; the heat melts and liquefies the metal (called coalescence) so they can be joined together. In order to melt part of a large piece of metal, you need to apply a large amount of either pressure or heat to it.
Common Welding Accidents
Burns – Burns are the most common welding accident. Welding burns have the propensity to be very serious because of the extreme heat and pressure required to weld metal together. Burns require immediate attention in the Emergency Room.
Arc-Eye – Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) is caused by the electric arc created through the act of welding. UV can cause burns to the skin and damage to the eyes. Damage to the lens of the eye can lead to “arc-eye,” which is an uncomfortable and often untreatable condition that makes it feel like there is sand in the eye.
Thermal Burns – Exposure to infrared radiation (IR) happens from the electric arc produced during welding and other metalworking equipment. IR can heat the surface of the skin and the tissue just below the skin, causing painful and scarring thermal burns.
Retinal damage – Exposure to intense visible light from welding can cause retinal damage, among other optical injuries.
Welding Accident Prevention
Welding accidents are best prevented by ensuring thorough training is received and that all recommended safety equipment is used:
- Eye protection
- Full face shield
- Thick gloves
- Keep the torch pointed away from you at all times
- While welding, keep the torch angled so that there are as few errant emissions from the torch as possible
- Make sure your employer has all of the safety equipment needed for welding and that it is all working/up to code. If it is not, report it to your employer as soon as possible and do not do any welding until the problem is resolved.
What do I do if I have a welding accident?
If you have a welding accident, you should seek appropriate medical treatment immediately. Next, take pictures of the injury and accident site if/when you are able. Keep track of all your medical bills.
If you suspect that the welding accident might have been the result of negligence on the part of your employer, call a workplace injury lawyer for an assessment of your case.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!