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Experts highlight fire safety for welders

In August 2015, Occupational Health & Safety magazine took note of the fact that welders in Colorado and around the country need to pay special attention to fire hazards. In addition to confirming that their immediate surroundings are free of obvious combustible items before beginning work, these professionals are advised to observe and control a number of other potential hazards that might increase the likelihood of dangerous combustion and personal injury.

Occupational safety experts say that welding activities can cause fires through numerous mechanisms. Welders who allow slag to fall into cracks or work too close to certain types of building materials may start fires that aren't immediately apparent. Pipes and tanks carrying flammable liquids could release vapors that ignite violently upon exposure to sparks or high temperatures. These kinds of items should be double-checked before any welding commences in their vicinity.

Welders are advised to maintain appropriate first aid supplies in a readily-accessible location, limit their activities to designated areas, use correct safety gear and avoid work conditions or attire that might increase their risk. Those who fail to follow these steps could sustain personal injuries to their skin, eyes or lungs. Welders who succumb to heat exhaustion or mental fatigue may also face heightened danger of subsequent workplace accidents.

Although workers like welders are partially responsible for their personal safety, those who suffer workplace injuries may be able to seek compensation depending on the circumstances of their accidents. In cases where employers failed to provide appropriate safety equipment or training resources, recovering victims may find it productive to document their working conditions and use the evidence to file claims. While awards aren't guaranteed, those who can establish that their employers didn't fulfill their responsibilities might have better chances of winning restitution.

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