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Wear Plate Welding Safety, June Is National Safety Month – Part 1 of 3

Since June is National Safety Month, and most wear plate is welded into position, this is the first part of a three part blog series covering welding safety.

Having worked as a vendor resource for mining and heavy industry for over 40 years, we have noticed many of the best weldors had little formal training. [For clarification – Welders are the machines. Weldors are the people using welding machines.]

Many weldors are unaware they have poor safety habits, because they were never taught the proper way to do their job safely.

Here are several essential safety tips when welding wear resistant steel, particularly when your people are welding in the field.

Part 1 – EYE SAFETY, PPE and HOUSEKEEPING

Part 2 – OXYGEN – ACETYLENE TORCH SAFETY

Part 3 - WELDING MACHINE SAFETY

This week we are covering Eye Safety, Personal Protection Equipment and Housekeeping

Eye Safety Topics:

1. Light rays, UV radiation.
2. Welding lens selection.
3. What to look for in auto-darkening welding helmets.

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Eye lids do not stop UV rays given off from every type of electric welding machines. A like new auto-darkening helmet was less than 6 feet away, because they didn’t want to take the time to get it. They knew better but didn’t take the few seconds to keep themselves safe.

Once you have experienced welding flash, you will never forget the feeling waking up in the middle of the night feeling like your eye balls are caked with sand. How often have you asked someone, “Hold this for a second while I tack it in place?” You are sacrificing project accuracy and risking flash burn by closing your eyes and not using the proper welding helmet and PPE.

Today, June 9, 2021 there was a solar eclipse for the Eastern portion of the United States. For the last few days every television and radio station has been warning people not to look directly at the sun.

Whether you are welding using SMAW (stick welding), GMAW or FCAW (MIG or Flux Core wire feed welding) or GTAW (TIG welding); the electric arc created to weld metal together produces Ultra Violet or UV rays just like the sun generates. These are harmful to your skin and especially to your eyes.
Invisible ultraviolet light (UV) from the arc can cause "welder's flash" after even a brief exposure, in less than one minute. The symptoms of "welder's flash" usually occur many hours after exposure to UV light. The symptoms include a feeling of sand or grit in the eye, tearing, blurred vision, intense pain, burning, and headache.

WHAT WELDING LENS SHOULD YOU USE?

Welding lens selection varies depending on the material and type of welding you are using.

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The higher the number, the darker the welding lens. Most welding helmets come with a #10 lens. Better auto-darkening helmets are adjustable for the level of darkness and allow for better visibility.

ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES WITH SIDE SHIELDS UNDER YOUR WELDING HELMET FOR ANOTHER LEVEL OF SAFETY.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT


Clothing / Shoes / Gloves – Leather has the best protection from UV rays & hot welding spatter.

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Notice the weldor is wearing a leather apron, welding sleeves, gloves and is wearing a skull cap for protection. In production welding areas you may choose light weight Fire Retardant cotton, with lower UV and spatter protection.

JADCO is well known as the wear plate Go-To Resource for the mining industry, where we do a significant amount of business with our QT Plus and Chromeweld wear plates. MSHA 56(7).15007 requires protective clothing for welding, cutting or working with molten metal.

This also includes leather safety shoes with oil resistant soles and cotton jeans with no cuffs for sparks to land and start a fire.

WELDING GLOVES

There are many different welding gloves available depending on the type of welding you are performing and the amount of spatter or heat generated.

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The standard welding gloves with a long cuff help prevent sparks and spatter from going down inside and burning your hands.

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TIG welding gloves are light weight due to your need to feel the filler metal used during welding.

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Kevlar gloves are used when working with high heat and substantial spatter.

Always remove rings, watches and other metal from your body prior to welding.

This is to prevent any chance of electrocution.

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Ear plugs are the about the least expensive PPE required for welding and grinding, yet is frequently neglected. They prevent hot sparks or molten metal from burning, causing hearing damage. Grinding is always used when preparing to grind or finishing weldments. The noise from a grinder can damage your hearing.

When using Carbon Arc cutting, wear ear plugs with muffs covering your ears due to the high noise levels.

Your Welding Environment

Always review the area where you are working, and remove all flammable materials before welding.

The photo below was the ‘welding area’ at a trucking company.

How many potential disasters can you spot that can occur when welding?

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You can see the vise on the small welding table in the lower right of the photo. Behind the welding area are drain oil pans, a battery charging station with stored batteries. Can of flammable material on the table and a forklift on the left. I am still amazed the shop has never burned down.

It is essential to keep all flammable materials away from the area where you are welding. If you cannot remove items that may cause an issue, protect them with welding blankets to prevent any fires.

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Here welding blankets are protecting the hydraulic components from damage due to welding sparks. A single welding spark on the highly polished rams will tear up seals causing thousands of dollars of damage, lost production and downtime along with environmental cleanup costs. Welding blankets become inexpensive insurance by comparison.

In our over 40 years leading the wear plate industry, JADCO has established friendships all over the world.

It is critical for us to make sure our friends and customers are not injured on the job. Please work safely.

Be certain to watch for Part 2 of 3 next week when we will address Oxygen & Acetylene Torch Safety.

Remember, JADCO’s QT Plus ® delivers greater wear performance IN YOUR WEAR APPLICATIONS than the myriad of AR400 wear steel you have previously used.


Being able to create wear resistant steel having the same hardness through the entire thickness of the plate; requires precisely controlled chemistry and careful heat treating.


Yet most steel wear plate distributors choose to limit the proper quantities of these essential elements trying to get a lower price.


For over the last 40 years JADCO has focused exclusively on delivering consistent, longer equipment life for our customers. We think differently by strictly focusing to improve your results.


Allow us to help you today by calling (724) 452-5252, or email info@jadcomfg.com.


We will schedule a meeting with one of our local wear plate specialists at a time that best fits your schedule.


Remember, the only thing you have to lose by not working with JADCO, are your profits.

When your standard AR wear plate gives out, give JADCO a shout! (724) 452-5252