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Minnesota employers advised to provide job-specific protection

In December 2015, workplace safety advocates zeroed in on the welding industry in an analysis of different kinds of protection employers ought to provide. In addition to recommending that employers create EHS management systems and accompanying procedures specifically geared towards assessing and controlling the risks associated with welding, industry observers pointed to a number of hazards that welders and those around them might face in the workplace.

The hazard concerns associated with welding vary based on the welding method. While oxygen-fuel welders have to watch out for the condition of their gas storage equipment, valves, hoses and regulators, those working with electric welding devices were cautioned to take steps like using correct grounding and insulation to lower the risk of electric shock.

A safe work environment is a common theme among all risk assessments regardless of welding methodology. Events like toxic gas inhalation, fire and electrocution could be more likely to occur in confined, improperly-ventilated spaces or poorly-controlled areas. As such, occupational safety professionals recommend that work spaces undergo thorough vetting before jobs commence. Other ways to reduce the risk of injury to workers include issuing personal protection and respiratory equipment, mandating the use of hot-work permits and preparing remedies such as fire suppression devices in advance.

The hazards of welding are well known to regulatory agencies like OSHA and MSHA. Although some accidents are unavoidable, the severity of most depends heavily on whether work site overseers and employers took risk-mitigation steps beforehand. When victims are injured in workplace accidents, they may want to speak with a workers' compensation attorney about the remedies that are available.

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