Which welding equipment would you normally use

Practical help

Electric welding hazards

1 Electrical Hazards
2 Hazard from pollutants
3 Radiation hazard
4 Risk of fire and explosion
5 Protective Measures


1Electrical hazards

The greatest danger with electric welding is the electric current. Normally, all live parts of electrical devices are protected against contact. This is not possible with electric welding machines. In order to close the circuit for melting the metals, the electrical insulation is interrupted at the welding point.

The voltages present on the welding machines are sufficient to cause life-threatening or fatal injuries in unfavorable situations.

It is therefore important that employees ensure that they are insulated from the floor, the welding machine and the workpiece. This means that the intact insulation of the welding equipment and the employees themselves must always be ensured by means of dry and clean clothing and, if necessary, additional insulating mats. The electrode holder must therefore not be placed on the workpiece. A safe welding current return must be ensured (direct connection to the welding piece or welding table and return to the welding machine).

There is an increased electrical hazard at the following workplaces:

  • if the body touches electrically conductive parts while kneeling, sitting, lying down or leaning against it,
  • at workplaces where the space between two opposing electrically conductive parts is already less than 2 m so that the welder can accidentally touch these parts,
  • in wet, damp or hot workplaces where the electrical resistance of human skin or work clothing and protective equipment can be significantly reduced by wetness, moisture or sweat.

Electrically conductive parts are e.g. B. metallic, damp or wet walls, floors, grates and damp or wet materials such as stone, concrete, wood or soil.


2Hazard from pollutants

The generation of pollutants during welding is heavily dependent on the welding process used and the application. The emission of pollutants is lower with lower welding voltage and lower welding current. Different welding processes produce different pollutants in different amounts. Grease, oil and other soiling, coatings such as paints and high-alloy stainless steels create more pollutants. Particularly dangerous pollutants arise when welding metal-coated steels. Toxic pollutants such as zinc, nickel, chrome fumes etc. are released. Employees should therefore work with a process that is as low in pollutants as possible and, on the other hand, thoroughly remove coatings and / or dirt from the welding point.

  • A lot of smoke is produced when arc welding by hand with stick electrodes. It can be better replaced by metal active gas welding (MAG).
  • Fewer pollutants compared to manual arc welding, metal active gas welding (MAG) or metal inert gas welding (MIG) are produced with tungsten inert gas welding (TIG).
  • Very few pollutants are produced in so-called submerged arc welding, in which welding is carried out under a layer of powder.
  • Processes with pulse operation or lasers also cause fewer pollutants

In particular, with TIG welding you should make sure that electrodes without thorium oxide are used. This radioactive additive can be replaced by other equivalent additives (e.g. cerium or lanthanum).


3Exposure to radiation

The radiation of the electric arc has a high UV component, which damages the eyes (flashing) and can lead to blindness if exposed for a longer period of time.


4Risk of fire and explosion

In addition, there is an increased risk of fire and explosion with arc welding.


5Protective measures

Avoidance of electrical hazards during electric welding
Protective measures against hazards from welding fumes
Protective measures against exposure to radiation
Fire protection during welding work
Summary of important protective measures for electric welding