Safety Consideration for Welders

Having recently redesigned our e-commerce website, we tried to make sure that our menu got you where you needed to be. Easier said then done!

A perfect example presented itself in the issue of welding. Now our site has a “welding” section but welding also could appear under “Respiratory Protection“, it could appear under “Gloves“, it could appear under “Eye Protection”, etc…


This got me thinking about what exactly as the health and safety issues that welders need to be aware of. I came up with the following list, if there are others that I’m missing please add them in the comments below:

  1. Respiratory Protection – As already mentioned welding entails fumes and particulates that shouldn’t end up in our lungs.  Make sure you understand what harmful fumes, vapors or particulates you need to protect against in order to have the proper filters or respiratory setup.
  2. Heat – Welding can generate temperatures that reach 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you have the proper welding gloves and apparel. You also need to be aware of slag and hot debris that can fly off and end up burning  (any welder who’s had hot slag down their back understands what I’m talking about). Heat can also start fires so make sure that the area around where you’re welding is clear of trash or debris that might ignite.
  3. Eye Protection – Most types of welding require special eye protection. Make sure you understand what shade of lens you need before you start welding. Burned retinas can be the price if you make a mistake.
  4. Hearing Protection – Aside from the noise involved with the welding itself, many welders work in high noise environments. It might not be the most comfortable thing in the world to have to wear hearing protection under that welding helmet but it’s a whole lot better than tinnitus or hearing loss later.
  5. Electrical Issues – Most forms of welding operate on the principle of creating an electrical short that melts metal to form a bond. Make sure you understand the process and understand grounding and what to avoid touching.
  6. Ergonomic Issues –  A lot of welding work is done in tight places or in positions that can wear on the welder.  Knee pads, back supports as well as other ergonomic equipment might be needed.

What am I missing?

Deadly Pneumonia tied to Windshield Washer Fluid

Researchers into the causes of deadly pneumonia realized that it was caused by the legionnaires’ disease bacteria. What they couldn’t figure out was why it seemed to be connected to riding in the car.

A new report seems to have found the answer and it’s rather strange. Apparently it’s the windshield washer fluid. The windshield washer fluid seems to be a breeding ground for the deadly bacteria. When you spray that fluid the bacteria become airborne. In one study in Arizona, 3/4 of the school buses tested had bacteria levels high enough to cause an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

Health officials aren’t issuing a safety precaution as of yet saying that further study is needed. With the warmer weather coming, or already here, however, it is important that awareness spread.

Legionnaires’ disease is more prevalent in the summer than in the winter. This is partly because the bacteria multiplies faster in warmer water but it is also because warmer weather means open windows in vehicles. When the window is open and the driver sprays the window with windshield washer fluid, people are exposed, either through splatters or through the airborne bacteria.

It seems like only common sense to close the windows when spraying fluid on the windshield, being especially cautious when elderly people or people with weakened immune system are riding in the car.

Read more about this issue here.

Let William Shatner talk to your employees about tinnitus

In an effort to get the message across that tinnitus is on the rise and that something needs to be done, the American Tinnitus Association called on William Shatner. William Shatner tells how he suffers from tunnitus caused by a special effects explosion on the set of one of his Star Trek episodes. He goes on to give us statistics that drive home how serious this issue is, both for adults, for the elderly, even children with an estimated 13% suffering from it.

Check out the video for yourself (click on the image below)


Start Preparing Now for Summer Heat Stress




As spring comes to an end and summer moves in, the dangers of heat stress and heat exhaustion move in. Understanding heat illness makes a difference in the care and prevention of heat related issues. Heat stress occurs when the body temperature climbs above 100 degrees F.

Who is at risk?

  • Anyone who is doing physical labor in warm conditions
  • Anyone working in High humidity
  • Anyone who isn’t properly hydrated
  • Older workers
  • Anyone working in direct sunlight
  • Anyone working around equipment that gives off heat
  • Anyone who has had a previous problem with a heat illness
  • Certain people who are on certain medications
  • Anyone with high blood pressure
  • Anyone who is overweight
  • Anyone wearing clothing or PPE that retains heat

What are the symptoms?

Early stages:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomitting
  • Heat rash, especially on the upper chest and neck area or in the groin or elbow creases.

Later, extreme serious stages:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Dry skin (body has lost all moisture and isn’t sweating any more)
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

The best way to deal with heat related illnesses is to keep the body temperature down. There are several ways to do this:

  • Wear lightweight, light-color, breathable clothing.
  • Protect the skin from direct sunlight
  • Work in the cooler hours if possible
  • Provide shade
  • Drink lots of water (avoid caffeinated beverages or beverages with a lot of sugar or sweetners)
  • Don’t eat heavy meals until after the work is done.
  • Shield from equipment that gives off heat or move it away from the work area

Treating Heat Stress

  • Move the person to a shaded area
  • Loosen all clothing
  • Hydrate slowly (when the body is close to shut down it will not be able to absorb liquids properly. Too much to fast can do more harm than good)
  • If the later stages are present, immediately call 911


National Safety Donates Safety Vests to Help with Haitii Cleanup

My cousin, Jez Blacker runs a lighting design business and an LED lights website. As if that isn’t enough, he and his wife Lynzi have started a non-profit, charitable organization called U2U World. Lynzi recently was asked for safety vests for a clean-up project they are a part of out there in Haiti. Here is the report that she posted on FaceBook yesterday.

REPORT FROM HAITI AND OUR CHARITY U2U … this is awesome – we work alongside a Haitian non-profit called CHE (Community Health Evangelism) and they asked us to supply them with ‘work vests’ for their ‘Keep the Saline Clean’ Project. The Saline is a slum where 100’s of people live – it gets flooded regularly and trash washed in from mainland Haiti. (Look on our FB album Community Centre to see more photos of the Saline). Here’s some photos of families cleaning the Saline .. thank you so much to National Safety Inc. in Seattle who Jez’ cousin Rob Vajko works for who donated 30 vests. Congratulations to Mickenson Francillon who is overseeing this project.

Saline1 Saline2 Saline3 Saline4

We were proud to be able to help out, even in this small way. Thank you Jez and Lynzi as well as U2U and everyone involved.


Ladder Safety Training Resources

trestle ladder

trestle ladder

If you’re having more than your fair share of accidents that come from ladders then it might be time to make sure your employees have been properly trained on ladder safety. The Convergence Training blog might be the best place to start.

Head over to their ladder safety page for a ton of great information as well as…