Date Published ‐ 21/10/2021
Working with metal poses many risks to individuals, particularly those who do not carry out the proper health and safety standards, and do not protect themselves with the correct PPE. PPE is the last line of defense in protecting yourself in a hazardous environment such as a metal fabrication workshop. Education, and acting appropriately will mitigate the potential for most foreseen circumstances. It is important to be aware of the kinds of hazards you are at risk to, to best protect yourself from them.
Electric shocks are very serious, especially when surrounded by a conducting material like metal and using high-powered machinery and tools on a day-to-day basis. This happens usually when touching live electrical components and can lead to being burnt or escalate quickly to life-threatening damage to the body. There are specialist gloves available to prevent the conduction of electricity through the hands but be sure to understand when and where not to touch and in what scenarios to avoid specific activities.
With so much heat in a workshop and open flames, it is common sense for fire to be a staple in any metal fabrication workshop. The very thing that is needed to work with metal, is also very dangerous when not handled appropriately. With extreme temperatures, fire can affect the body and life if measures are not followed. Fire risk is high, volatile, and spreads quickly, and you must know how to control the correct type of fire with the right resources to mitigate a potential outbreak.
In a metal fabrication workshop, combustible dust in a welding environment is at high risk of exploding, igniting, and causing further problems if not first bodily damage. To prevent this from happening, carry out proper dust collection practices and investigate using a wet dust collector for steel and aluminum. In a workshop, it is also proper practice to work in a clean environment, so before starting to weld, inspect the work area for any hazardous or flammable materials and remove them if found.
Gases and Fumes
The gases and fumes that are given off from working with different types of metals pose great risks. They can be extremely dangerous to someone’s health if inhaled over long periods as they could potentially contain harmful metal oxide compounds. These can enter the lungs and cause serious long-term illness. When working in these environments, be sure to check the health and safety requirement for respiratory protective equipment.
Due to the nature of a workshop and all the tools available inside, whether sharp or related to heat and fire, there are always going to be risks of bodily harm. These include minor risks such as cuts and bruises, but extend to burns, skin, and eye irritation and escalate greatly in severity. Overalls are a common factor in protective personal equipment in a workshop to reduce immediate contact from the hazard to the body, but also reduce causing further hazards such as snags.