Welding is one of the most regulated areas in several industries, especially the construction industry, and the reason for that is, it’s among the most dangerous occupations anywhere. Yet, despite the heavy regulations designed to protect the health of a welder and mandates on the part of federal and Texas state regulators that make employers, contractors and subcontractors responsible for every worker safety, too many accidents continue to happen, leading to a great many serious injuries.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 500,000 workers are injured every year due to welding accidents. This shouldn’t be surprising, given the level of heat and energy that is required to weld two pieces of metal together to form a bond capable of withstanding force and bearing a great deal of weight. It’s a very dangerous occupation, with the risk of fatal injury to workers being higher than four deaths per 1000 over a career.
The most common forms of welding injuries include the following:
- Injuries from fire, due to constant sparks or the possible presence of flammable materials, including gasoline and solvents
- Burns from extreme heat and exposure to ultraviolet rays emitted by the welding process
- Injuries to the eyes, due to excessive heat or exposure to the intense ultraviolet rays that are part of the welding process, commonly called “arc eye”
- Lightheadedness and risk of falls due to inhalation of fumes
- Injuries from working in confined spaces
- A variety of injuries due to excessive fatigue because of overwork, from having to work multiple shifts
The tremendous amount of potential risk is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put in place so many regulations to protect welders. For example, welders are required to wear safety shoes and masks equipped with protective lenses designed to prevent burns and eye injuries. It is also necessary for welders to work in properly ventilated areas, in order to minimize the risk of inhalation of gases and particulates that are produced during the welding process. In addition to providing welders and their assistants with the proper personal protective equipment and the proper training, employers and others responsible for the workplace are required to inspect and assess all aspects of the worksite.
Welders are often required to work in a variety of environments. While manufacturing plants feature welding as a more automated process, which reduces the dangers, those at construction sites are not so lucky, and they are often required to work in very confined spaces, or to work outdoors, at times in bad weather, and sometimes they work on a scaffold or platform that is often high above the ground. In many cases, welders are also required to lift heavy objects and to work in awkward positions, such as standing and working overhead, or in a bent or crouched position, which can also lead to a greater potential for injury.
Many injuries associated with welding can be catastrophic and life-altering for many workers. While many have the potential to limit your ability to work, they can have a negative effect on other parts of a worker’s life. It is often necessary for the injured welder to undergo extensive medical treatment and even long-term rehabilitation, which can mean they are unable to return to work for an extended period of time; some take months or years to recover, and many become permanently disabled.
Texas Welding Accidents in the Workplace
Whenever a worker has been injured in an accident that may have been caused by the failure of an employer or other responsible party to follow the regulations covering welding, that worker may be entitled to compensation by filing a claim against the owner or general contractor. If you or a loved one have been injured in a welding accident, the Workplace Injury Attorneys at the Liggett Law Group have the skills and expertise to help you fight for your rights. Please call us to schedule a free consultation, so that we can look at the facts and find out where you stand and what you may be entitled to.