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How to Prevent Welding Fires: Keep Yourself and Your Shop Safe

a welder working on a piece of metal

Welding is a rewarding skill that comes with safety hazards, whether we like it or not. Welders deal with sparks and molten metal, which pose a constant threat, so fire prevention is important. Here’s how to prevent welding fires to create a safe welding environment. 

How to Prevent Welding Fires

Prepare your Workspace

Clear the area: Before you start welding, check your workspace. Remove any flammable materials within a 35-foot radius. These could include paint, rags, solvents, and even sawdust. 

Shielding and barriers: Get yourself some welding blankets, welding curtains, or flame-resistant sheets to shield any combustibles nearby. 

Inspect thoroughly: Do not overlook any hidden danger. Check for any cracks or holes in walls or floors. Any stray spark lodged unseen can smolder and ignite later.

Fire Extinguisher: Always keep a serviced fire extinguisher for emergency purposes. 

 

a welder working in a workshop

Welding Clothing: Your First Line of Defense Against Welding Fires

Natural Fibers: When choosing welding clothing, choose flame-resistant clothing made of natural fibers like wool or cotton. Synthetic materials can melt and stick to your skin if ignited by sparks. 

Loose is better: In choosing the size of your welding clothing, avoid tight-fitting clothing. Loose garments give you better airflow and can prevent sparks from getting trapped next to your skin. 

Cover up: Long sleeves and pants can minimize exposed skin. For more protection, wear a welding apron or jacket.

Leather gloves: You can never go wrong with leather welding gloves that reach your mid-forearm. 

Footwear: Leather boots or leather spats can cover your ankles and feet. 

Headgear: A welding helmet with an accurate shade for your specific welding process is a must. You can also use a fire-resistant welding cap underneath for added protection. 

Safe Work Practices: 

Inspect Equipment: Make sure you regularly check your welding machine and also check your hoses for damage or any leaks. A faulty equipment can cause overheating and cause sparks.

Gas Cylinder Safety: Keep gas cylinders upright and away from the welding area. Do not expose them to sparks or heat.

Maintain Cleanliness: Always keep your work area clean and free of debris. Remove welding slack and spatter to minimize fire hazards. 

Never weld Alone: A buddy system can be great, especially for beginners. Having someone around in case of an accident can make a critical difference. 

Post-Welding Inspection: After finishing your work, inspect the surrounding area for hidden fires or smoldering. Make this a habit, and don’t leave until you are 100% sure that everything is safe. 

By following these preventive measures and giving top priority to fire-resistant clothing, you can significantly reduce the devastating effects of welding fires. 

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