Working as a freelance welder is a fulfilling career. It allows you to visit interesting places and work on challenging projects. Once your skills are top-notch, you may also get to travel extensively as a specialist. As a welder, you look forward to incredible opportunities down the road. All you need to do is to stay focused on refining your craft.
Being a freelance welder is fulfilling, but being safe is vital. Use the tips below to ensure your career stays safe and lucrative.
Make Sure You Have Excellent Ventilation
As a welder, you must focus on having excellent tools, a high-quality visor, and hand protection. After that, your next responsibility is to protect your lungs and nasal passages fully. Protecting your lungs is vital since welding can create toxic fumes.
Remember the following tips to maintain ventilation:
- If you’re welding in a spot where welders don’t usually appear, bring signage.
- If you want a door left open, put a note on it.
- If you want a fan set up to carry away fumes, put your name on it.
Don’t work in a space where you may put yourself at risk. You must ensure that someone does not inadvertently close a door or move your safety gear. Otherwise, you’ll put your health at risk in the long run.
Invest in Quality Footwear
Welding can create drips of molten metal. You may have leather covers to protect your upper body already. But you should also be prepared to invest in hearty work boots.
Whether you’re working with acetylene or a MIG or TIG setup, the right shoes will protect you from burns. They can also protect you from electrocution.
Even if the boots are expensive, they will keep your feet safe. If you were to get injured, you’d spend more money on medical payments. So, don’t try to cut costs when you need the proper safety gear.
Check Your Power Source
Sometimes, you must plug your welder when moving to a new job site. Before arriving, take the time to check your power availability. If you’re working on a site that provides a generator, you’ll need ear protection. If you’re working in a building, ensure your power source is dedicated and not overloaded.
If you overload your power source and trip a breaker, you may shut down part of the work site. When this happens, you have to deal with hunting for a breaker box. After that, you must figure out how to ration power between your project and other workers on the site. As you can see, it’s a big deal to overload your power source!
Needless to say, be clear about your power needs before moving to a new worksite.
Make Sure You Have an Exit
No matter how careful you are, there is always the chance of a fire when you’re welding. Thankfully, there are steps to take to prevent this from happening.
For starters, carry your own fire extinguisher in your gear. Reviewing the worksite is also imperative. During the review, ensure you have a clear path away from your work location. If something flares up, you’ll have a better chance of escaping.
Also, keep your fire extinguisher up to date and regularly inspected. Have it mounted on your rig where you can quickly grab it if needed. Also, remember not to run your power cords or allow others to run them across your escape path. If you need to clear out fast, you don’t want to have to deal with tripping hazards.
Get an Auto-Darkening Helmet and Other Safety Garments
Welding helmets are heavy and can do a number on your neck over time. When you line up your weld, your eyes must be protected as soon as you ignite your torch or fire up your arc. Leaving your helmet up while you line up and nodding it into place may work for a time. Yet, a good auto-darkening helmet will reduce wear and tear on your skull and your neck.
You likely wear jeans while welding. A high-collared shirt will also protect your skin. Hearty gloves and palm protectors are also crucial to your overall safety.
Like any safety gear, the items you first purchased when you studied welding will wear out over time. As soon as you notice any fraying of these garments, replace them. Loose strings can ignite incredibly quickly.
Welders offer a particular skill that can be pretty lucrative. If welding interests you, there’s no time like now to look into starting this creative venture. And as you build your skills and your niche, you can earn more money.
As fulfilling as being a welder is, be vigilant about your safety. Always keep your space ventilated and have an easy escape route. Also, check the condition of your equipment after every job. It’s vital to do this to ensure it’s safe for you to use it during your next job. By keeping your safety in mind at all times, you’ll not only enjoy your job but will excel at it.