Safety in the Shop: Other People’s Tools

This weekend I attended a welding class.  I’m trying to get some practice laying beads with a MIG welder.  A major safety hazard of welding is being “flashed” by the spark of electricity between the machine and workpiece.  “Flashing” means the brightness of the arc has burned your retinas and can cause severe eye irritation, temporary blindness, redness, etc.  You avoid this by wearing a proper welding helmet and warning bystanders that you will start welding.

I, of course, got flashed this weekend.

The fault wasn’t “my own”.  Meaning it wasn’t my personal action which cause the flash.  I kept my eyes away from the arc and such.  But I failed to examine my helmet – someone had “repaired” the helmet using zip-ties to hold the visor in place.  Which meant holes and such in the lens, which meant that as I welded parts together….I flashed myself.

In a way though, the fault was my own.  It’s my responsibility to examine my tools and equipment before I use them.  It’s my job to protect myself from injury.  So always examine your tools and equipment – especially if some other yokel uses it or owns it.

Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend.