For new welders finding their feet in a metal fabrication shop, the concern is usually directed at protecting the eyesight from the weld glow or burns from the sparks. However, there is another issue new welders must watch out for during welding, and that is weld fumes. As you heat the base metal and the filler, vapours emanate from the arc. Just as you need protection from the high-intensity arc glow, you need to protect yourself from weld fumes. In this article, you will find the best practices for protecting yourself and fellow fabricators from welding fumes.
Remove Any Coating
When a newbie gets their first project, they usually get carried away and begin working on the pieces straight away. The rookies do not bother to check whether there is a coating on the steel metal in question or not. If you start welding coated steel without removing the coating, the heat will vaporise the coat, consequently giving off dangerous fumes. Therefore, a rule of thumb for all newbie welders is to first check if the steel metal has any coating. If it does, then go ahead and strip every bit of the layer from the surface before you begin the welding process. It is safe to weld a bare metal surface as the heat from the arc has nothing to vaporise.
In some situations, you might be forced to weld coated metal, and the best area to do so is outdoors rather than indoors. However, just welding coated steel outdoors is not enough, because if done the wrong way, you will still expose yourself to the fumes. One way that experienced welders approach such situations is by working upwind rather than downwind. The position allows the wind to blow the weld fumes away from you, thus eliminating the chances of inhalation.
Use a Weld Fume Extractor
Ventilation is mandatory in any industrial facility. However, as much as a fabrication shop is well ventilated, it does not account for much if you cannot make the ventilation work for you. This is because welds are done close to the body; therefore, any fumes reach the nearest worker before being drawn away from the facility. The best way to get rid of weld fumes from a facility is by using a weld fume extractor. The equipment allows you to position the vacuum nozzles as close to the fume source as possible, thus ensuring the safety of workers.
For more information or tips, contact a steel fabrication company.