Keeping Safe During Cold Weather

Proper welding comes about from a harmonious existence between a welder and his equipment. Both can be affected by a variety of conditions, and cold temperature is one of them. While welding equipment is often made to withstand cold temperatures, their operators are not so fortunate, and for that reason, special precautions must be taken to ensure your safety when welding in the cold seasons.

So as the autumn and winter months approach, bear in mind the following considerations for working in cold temperatures, and take the necessary precautions.

Dress appropriately

Overdressing for your work can be more harmful than helpful. Such items as leather welding jackets can help to keep you warm when you are not working. However, they are not very breathable and can cause you to sweat under the heat generated from your wielding activities. Dressing in too many layers of clothing can also result in this same problem. When your clothes become sweaty, it can result in dehydration and rapid heat loss.

The loss of fluid body mass can be as much as 8 percent in if precautions are not taken to re-hydrate, and since the cold decreases the thirst response by as much as 40 percent in winter, re-hydrating takes a conscious effort. Since symptoms of mild dehydration in summer usual start to show at between 1 to 4 percent of fluid loss, an 8 percent loss can expose you to serious health problems and loss of productivity.

Reduce activity

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is one of the issues that welders face, and is developed through the constant use of power tools that are used for cutting, chipping, grinding, peening and other similar tasks. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the cold temperatures cause the muscles in the arm to mimic the symptoms of Reynaud's phenomenon (a condition in HAVS), the condition can be accelerated during cold conditions.

It might therefore be wise to reduce the need to utilize power tools during these cold months, especially if you are having any concerns about developing HAVS. It is also recommended that you do hand exercises as often as possible to help counter the effects of the power tools on the muscles and nerves of the hand and fingers and take 10 minute breaks away from the tools. Keeping your hands warm by wearing gloves in the cold, especially outdoors, and warming your gloves before putting them on can also help.

For more information on how to prepare for working with welders in the winter, contact a professional welding company like Vern Lewis Welding Supply Inc.