Some safety considerations...............

Discussion in '<a href=' started by 75, Jun 1, 2001.

  1. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    This is a subject I think everyone can benefit from - ways to stay safe when "playing with fire". To most of you (I hope) these may sound ridiculously obvious, but when I first started out some of them didn't....................

    A lot of things are pretty basic, such as safety glasses, keeping a fire extinguisher close at hand just in case, and using stands rather than jacks to support a vehicle you're crawling under.

    Grinder guards are one I learned the hard way . I was using a 7" angle grinder to clean up some areas where I had been cutting on my truck deck. Kneeling down & working around the trailer hitch, I had the grinder jump back at me when I got into a tight spot. First point of contact: my left knee. Had the guard been on there, it would have startled me. Since the guard WASN'T on there, it opened the knee up! (When I was in for my last driver's medical, the doctor saw the scar & asked if I had ever had knee surgery. "Well, I guess you could say I did have one round of exploratory surgery............"

    Since I get to work around machinery a lot, one thing the old hands taught me early on is "Don't trust hydraulics!"

    Even the average pickup plow can do a lot of damage if it drops on your foot - imagine one of the big DOT units doing that! Drop the blade first or block it up before going to work.

    Another real danger is dump boxes. Many times we've done repair work on dump trucks, always block it to make sure the box can't creep down while you're working. With the shield down & the arc going, you'd never hear it coming.

    Tomorrow I get to climb inside the pit's impact crusher & do hardfacing. The top portion of this unit lifts up with hydraulic cylinders for access, so I'll have to make sure it's blocked and/or chained to keep it from lowering back down "just in case". (As well, the power source has to be locked out before starting work) And, the rotor which I'll be doing the welding on also has to be wedged to keep it from turning. Just the rotor's own weight going around is enough to reconfigure a leg............

    More ideas on how to stay safe on the job to come - looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

    DYNA PLOW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    roger that on the fire exting.i needed mine in a bad way last fall.
    i had just changed the antifreeze in my truck and dumped it in a 5 gal pail then i flushed the gas tank on my atv and dumped that in the pail with the old antifreeze. ( i'm shur you see where i'm going here)
    the pail was in my shop, next day i had to cut a piece of aluminum
    with the plasma, i slid the pail over but somehow a spark jumped in the pail and whoosh... flames to the ceiling.
    thank god for fire extings.
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    This sounds like an obvious one,but when welding galvanized steel-use a fan,and good ventilation,those fumes will get you every time.I always run the fan next to my work,and keep all the shop doors open,take breaks and go outside,or wear a respirator.
  4. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    Good tips guys. I learned to keep some sort of burn ointment around when welding also. You never know when a hot piece of metal will jump into some bad places that can be hard to try to get it off your skin. The sooner you can get it on your skin, the better off you are.

    The best thing I have found for burns is, a natural oil that comes from an Australian paper-barked tree. It has been proved to be exceptionally effective on burns, skin problems, insect bites and various bacterial infections. It is called T Tree Oil and you can get it at health food stores.

    Another tip, don't have a lighter in your pocket while welding. I've heard of hot metal melting the plastic and it explodes. I've only heard this, never experianced it and glad of it. ;)
  5. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Eric - yes those plastic lighters do go up in flames! Maybe not "Bang" but definitely "Whoosh"........

    Fortunately, it wasn't in my pocket. (Heck, I don't even SMOKE!) What happened was, we were working on a loading dock and one of the guys lost his lighter. We didn't have any idea where it could have gone until I started cutting on the dock leveller............"Whoosh!"

    It only startled us. Had it been in a pocket at the time, it would have been more serious.

    John - I HATE galvanizing! All good suggestions on how to deal with the fume problem. I've been told drink lots of milk too, but it never seemed to make a difference to me.
  6. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    This may sound rather obvious, but I've seen others doing it & caught myself more than once too:

    When cutting, especially pieces out of a chunk of plate, there's a tendency for the torch hose to end up underneath where you're working. Sparks raining down on the hose won't cause a major problem right away, but will cause the hose to wear faster than normal - each spark is a tiny piece of molten metal.

    Larger molten blobs of metal or slag CAN make for some exciting moments: These can burn through the hose if they land on it. (Since torch hose tends to lie "flat", not everything that lands on it rolls off) Burn through the hose and you could end up with an "instant flamethrower"! If this does happen, resist the urge to PANIC!!! Simply shut the gases off, let the fire go out & fix the problem.

    If you don't burn through the hose while cutting, there's still the possibility of the cut piece falling to the floor and chopping through the hose. And if that cut piece is still glowing, the "flamethrower" might result!
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    On the subject of torches,dont forget the oxygen tank has a dual seat valve ,so when you turn it on,,open it all the way,that will seat it,and keep the O2 from leaking out the threads.At 2000 psi you will loose O2 if you dont.The aceltelyne tanks on-off only needs to be cracked,since it is a low pressure single seat valve.
  8. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    I'm amazed at how many times I see this: People grinding or chipping welds without safety glasses! :confused: I don't get it, maybe because I have to wear prescription glasses anyway so I've always got something protecting my eyes.

    Saw 2 fellows from another welding company today (we were both working for the same customer, on different parts of a jaw crusher that's in the process of being overhauled) working on a support frame built from 6" x 6" tube, welded in position. Lots of welding there, consequently lots of chipping. And every time I saw them chipping, they didn't have safety glasses on. I guess the squinting was supposed to protect their eyes instead.

    I can't count the number of times I've chipped a weld and felt (never saw) the little piece of slag that flew up & "stung" me, so I guess they must either be a lot luckier than me or have really good reflexes.

    Since I've only got 2 eyes, and once they are gone that's it (no replacements) I'll stick with keeping the glasses on. I am constantly reminding some of my co-workers about the glasses issue, and while I hope none of them ever loses an eye if it DID happen maybe then the rest of them would start paying attention and I could stop doing the "broken record" impersonation.........
  9. Bill c

    Bill c LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    I also would advise wearing a respirator when grinding on
    galvanized or other nasty metals such as maganese.Where I
    work we are required to wear them and they are a nuisance
    but when you change the filters and see whats in them your
    be glad your wearing them.75 I gotta agree with you about
    the safety glasses,it took a few nights at the Er for me
    to learn but I won't touch a job without wearing them.
  10. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Good point about keeping the nasty stuff 'outta the lungs Bill. At my work we've got a couple of welding shields designed to fit over top of a respirator for working on things such as galvanized handrails - fairly common in some industrial and outdoor applications.

    I've "enjoyed" having the doc use the handheld motor tool on my eye ONCE - that was enough!

    I've been reading the thread about "Powerade" with interest, and a week like this one's been really shows the importance of keeping hydrated. Temps close to 30 degrees Celcius, with the humidity way up there as well. Been putting in l-o-n-g days at a customer's shop rebuilding a jaw crusher, most of yesterday was spent up near the top of the 15-foot high machine welding away. Heat DOES rise, and all I was doing was creating more of it! Today, I was out in the sun most of the day.

    I would imagine that (hopefully) most of you aren't stuck putting in those kinds of hours fabbing on a regular basis, but even a summer day working on a project in your garage or driveway can take a round out of you. Same as with mowin', keeping your fluid level where it's supposed to be will help keep you alert - fire/molten metal/sharp objects etc are best handled when you're "all there"!

    Now, if I could just convince the darn customer that 13-hour days are a bad idea...................

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