U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Hot Work
Hazard: Burns and Shocks
Working in tight spaces often requires awkward body positions: bending, stooping, crouching, or working on knees for extended periods of time. Strains, or severe injuries of the back, neck, and knees may develop from sustaining those awkward postures for extended periods without adequate recovery time.
This electrode holder offers good insulating capability and will protect the worker from shock. Electrode holders, welding leads, and cables should be inspected prior to every use and more frequently in rough handling and use situations. Damaged or faulty equipment should be removed from service. Workers should not attempt to make temporary repairs to electrode holders using electrician’s tape or other materials.
Installing or changing welding electrodes with bare hands or while standing on a wet surface is a common cause of electrical shock in shipyards. The potential for the worker to become part of the ground return path for the open circuit voltage exists whenever a low resistance path to ground is created by contact with the skin or wet clothing or gloves.
Wearing dry gloves as shown here will insulate the worker from the welding electrode and prevent electrical shock. The long sleeve shirt worn by this worker offers additional protection from accidental electrode contact with the skin. Development of good work habits by welders to prevent electrical shock can be fostered by periodic safety talks and publications containing safety reminders and messages.
Leaving an electrode holder unattended with the electrode installed even for a short time presents a number of potential hazards. In this case, a worker may come into contact with the electrode and receive an electrical shock. Additionally, as welding leads are often very long, the possibility of the electrode being pulled off and falling to the ground or contacting a conductive surface exists. In addition to the shock hazard that would be created, the sparking that might occur would constitute a potential fire hazard.
The welder has removed the electrode from the holder prior to leaving the area. This eliminates a possible hazard.