Written by: Safety

The Various Dangers of Working With Metal

Fabrication shops are hazardous environments. Knowing the various dangers of working with metal allows workers to avoid severe health issues.

The Various Dangers of Working With Metal

Working with metal and the heavy machinery necessary to cut, shape, and weld pieces is an extremely dangerous occupation. Workers clock in facing these hazards every day, and it’s essential for them to come in knowing the various dangers of working with metal and how to protect themselves. Monitor your employees and ensure they follow adequate safety procedures; if not, they run the risk of endangering themselves and others.

Chemical Fumes

When a fabricator joins two pieces of metal together through welding, the process creates a gas that rises from the welding area. Inhaling these fumes comes with several debilitating symptoms, some of which include:

  • Nausea
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Lung and kidney damage
  • Stomach ulcers

Welding is among the most common practices in a fabrication shop, making it critical to know how to eliminate the threat of inhaling fumes. Among the most reliable safety precautions is the use of a fume extractor, a vacuum arm that sucks the hazardous fumes away from employees. Be aware of how you can negate welding fumes and safeguard your workers.

Airborne Dust

Cutting and shaving down metal sheets creates a cloud of metal shavings; these airborne particulates, like fumes, can enter the body and cause serious illness. Long-term exposure to this kind of particulate matter will result in life-long respiratory illnesses, damaging the lungs and making it difficult for employees to breathe.

For these situations, using a downdraft table is a common solution to eliminate airborne dust. Simultaneously implementing respirators will also significantly reduce the chances of inhaling metal dust; just make sure to maintain the equipment. Before and after every session, have employees inspect the suction of the downdraft table and check the respirator’s filter.

Cuts To the Skin

Cutting and bending metal can easily create rough ridges and burrs, sharp edges that will slice the skin open. Handling metal sheets is a necessary part of the job, and the potential for a burr is always present; these metal ridges can cut deep into the hand, requiring immediate medical attention.

During every phase of the metalworking process, employees must wear protective, cut-resistant gloves to prevent cuts. Even if they only handle the metal sheet for a moment, that’s enough time for their skin to catch on a ridge and open it up.

Adopt Multiple Safety Precautions

When dealing with the dangers that working with metal poses, it’s essential to implement multiple safety measures. Upholding just one safety precaution can run the risk of failure, and employees will have nothing to fall back on when their initial method fails them. Offer the proper training and equipment so that your employees can feel safer and work safely, eliminating the hazards of a metal shop.

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Last modified: November 1, 2021