U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Hot Work
Hazard: Repeated Trauma
Repeatedly using the neck to flip back the welding hood or to snap it down stresses the neck muscles and vertebra. Over time painful musculoskeletal injury with long lasting or permanent effects may develop.
This injury can easily be prevented by using the hand to raise or lower the welding hood. Repeated trauma injuries such as this are gradual in their onset and employees often don't recognize the problem until the damage has been done.
Welders and burners must frequently use vibratory pneumatic tools in tasks associated with their work such as smoothing welds, or removing paint or corrosion from areas where hot work is to be performed. Hand and arm vibration, excessive force, or inadequate recovery time after using such tools can lead to tendon, nerve, or neurovascular disorders, which like many repeated trauma injuries may go unnoticed until the injury is severe.
Alternating hot work and tasks utilizing vibratory tools to reduce the number of hours per day the tool is used is one method of preventing this type of injury. Wearing antivibration gloves, wrapping tool handles with anti-vibration tape, focusing on relaxing tense muscles and taking frequent mini breaks are all methods that will help prevent repeated trauma disorders.
Even when tools are properly maintained, using damaged or excessively worn consumable grinding discs can significantly contribute to the vibration being produced and increase the risk of injury.
"Consumables cabinets" such as the one in this photo can be placed in work areas and provide workers convenient access to grinding discs and other consumable items.