Welding, Brazing, and Cutting Torch Accidents

Tennessee Construction Injury Law: Welding, Brazing, & Cutting Torch Accidents

welding brazing and cutting torch accidents concept - Professional welder and mask welding metal pipe on the industrial table.

Brazing, welding, and cutting torches are some of the most dangerous roles and pieces of equipment on a construction site. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders, brazers, and others who use welding-related equipment make up more than 10% of the entire U.S. construction workforce. This group, exceeding 2 million laborers in total, who are frequently subjected to intense heat, heavy machinery, and even toxic gases or chemicals, are susceptible to sustaining sever injuries. Unfortunately, these injuries often include burns, eye and ear injuries, and permanent damage to the brain, lungs, and nerves.

The experienced construction injury attorneys at InjuryTN understand that the majority of welders work in challenging environments and under demanding conditions. They frequently are required to complete their job indoors in small spaces, outdoors in severe weather, and even at elevated positions, lifting bulky objects or in awkward positions. Such conditions typically worsen the danger of workplace injuries occurring. Even so, in the majority of cases, welding injuries can be entirely prevented, and, in the end, every worker is entitled to their safety in the workplace.

Why Do Welding Accidents Happen?

A fundamental understanding of welding, brazing, cutting, and other similar processes will be required in order to Identify the causes of welding accidents.

  • Brazing – A process which, similar to welding, requires the use of heated liquid metal filler to connect more than one metal surface.
  • Cutting – A process which entails separating two metal surfaces by melting them with the use of extreme heat.
  • Soldering – A process which is performed similarly to welding, but at a much lower temperature and usually on units with softer metals.
  • Welding – A process which entails heating metal to join more than one metal surface together. This is often done with a source of extreme heat, such as by electrical arc or combustible fuel.

Some industries involve these procedures being conducted by automated machinery, such as in the manufacturing of automobiles, where workers are not subjected to as much danger. However, those working on construction sites as welders, brazers, solderers, and cutters will seldom make use of equipment or machinery that is automated, which means that contractors, subcontractors, site owners, and workers should pay special care in taking precautionary measures to avoid injuries.

Worker Fatigue

Another considerable issue in this line of work is worker fatigue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, although approximately half of all brazer, cutters, solderers, and welders work full-time at 40 hours a week, a large portion worked overtime, too. Actually, nearly 20% of all welders in construction worker more than 50 hours in a given week. The combination of this with dangerous environments and hazardous conditions can increase the probability of serious injury.

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Safety Guidelines & Reguations

Performing this kind of work safely requires a certain amount of skill in addition to extensive training, so those who lack experience need to be sufficiently supervised and trained to mitigate any risk of injury. Due to the inherent level of danger involved in this field, OSHA has established safety regulations and guidelines to be followed when welding, cutting, soldering, and brazing. Although these regulations may become very particular very quickly based on what kind of work is being completed, the overall specifications include:

  • Any transportable fire hazards should be moved somewhere safe in the event that the object which is to be welded isn’t transportable;
  • Protection should be used to restrict the heat, sparks, or slag ad to mitigate fire hazards;
  • For areas containing more openings which cannot be closed, special precautionary measures should be taken in order to make sure combustible materials will not be able to fall on or through the floor or wall;
  • Availability to appropriate fire extinguishers
  • Presence of watchers for fire when certain criteria is met;
  • Thorough evaluation of the welding/cutting area before beginning work;
    • Welding and cutting should not be permitted in unauthorized areas where sprinkler systems are not properly functioning or in areas containing explosive materials;
  • Supervisors and managers are responsible for ensuring worker safety.

The inability to abide by these in addition to any other OSHA guidelines will surely increase the chances of having a serious accident while welding, cutting, soldering, and brazing.

Types of Injuries Caused by Torch Accidents

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has reported numerous fatalities every year due to accidents involving cutting and welding, which were attributed to:

  • Asphyxiation
  • Burns
  • Crush accidents
  • Electrocutions
  • Explosions
  • Falls
  • Fires

Among the most prevalent types of injuries sustained during accidents caused by brazing, cutting, soldering, or welding is eye injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that over 350,000 eye injuries occur annually due to welding-related accidents, which adds up to more than 1,000 each day. While employers do incur more than $450 million annually for injuries of this kind, the workers must handle issues much more burdensome, as injuries to the eyes may seriously detriment future employment opportunities, in addition to general enjoyment of life.

It is for this reason that welders must wear helmets as well as other standard safety equipment in order to aid in preventing burns from heated metal slag, injuries caused by flying particles, and even overexposure to ultraviolet radiation as well as dangerous chemicals, fumes, and vapors. Another primary concern is severe burns, which can result from a sudden burst of heat, in addition to overexposure to UV or infrared radiation. Such conditions may cause damage to the surface of the skin as well as underneath, resulting in agonizing pain and severe scarring from thermal burns.

Lastly, acute exposure to particularly dangerous materials and/or fumes may end in risks like carbon monoxide poisoning, and long-term exposure to soldering or welding fumes often results in damage to the lungs, stomach ulcers, certain types of cancer, brain damage, kidney damage, and even nervous system damage.

Talk to Experienced Tennessee Construction Injury Attorneys

In the event that you or somebody you care about has sustained a welding, cutting, brazing, or soldering injury, it’s critical to get in touch with a team of accomplished personal injury lawyers who have the resources and track record to win your case. Although workers’ compensation does provide immunity for employers from suits being filed for injury, numerous third-parties could be liable for the accident, so initiating a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the incident will be paramount to your case’s success. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at InjuryTN to set up your free and confidential consultation. There are no costs or fees until we win your case.

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