Weldors vs. Welders: Terminology
A weldor is the skilled professional and a welder is the machine used.
The Importance of PPE, Personal Protective Equipment
Mig Welding must be approached with a concern for safety, protecting every part of your skin from UV light and flying sparks. The following safety apparel is necessary for this work:
- leather boots
- a flame resistant coat or jacket
- leather gloves
- a helmet specific to welding
- safety glasses
- pants without cuffs
- a cap to protect the top of your head
Simply squinting against the light will not protect you from arc eye which is a cornea burn. The welding process produces flames, fumes, vapors that can harm your lungs, which is why it is vital that you work in a well-ventilated area and use an extraction fan. The cumulative effect of vapors is harmful. Never place items that are flammable near where you are welding; grinding also creates flammable sparks. The example below is of a well-prepared weldor. Here is a link to a company that provides high quality gear. Click
Changing Demographics...WOMEN who WELD
Only 24% of today's weldors are women, but that statistic may soon be changing. Ergonomics has made it possible for a woman of any size to weld to perfection. Just as offices now have tables that meet the needs of the user, so too are tables being built that are adjustable in height, can be rotated to 360 degrees and are tiltable to 45 degrees.
Unlike tech jobs that can and have frequently been moved overseas, a majority of welding jobs need to be done "on site." They also pay far more than clerical, education, customer service, human resources and hospitality jobs...the starting salary is usually $35+/hour for new graduates, which is around $70K/yr.
Women need to look around and assess the many items made that require welding and rethink their career choices! To create a harassment-free environment, not unlike attending an all- women's college, women are setting up welding schools all across the USA to teach and support female welders. The additional upside is that these are far more affordable than traditional vocational schools and women who do graduate are finding FT employment within six weeks, according to Women Who Weld in Detroit, MI. Photo from Art UK, titled "Women Weldors." Credit
Welder's Hand: The Occupational Problem it Solves called "HAVS"
The Wilhelm Institute has identified a disabling occupational injury specific to the welding industry called HAVS--Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome. The good news is that there are simple precautions welders can take to reduce this injury.
Because welding tools create a vibration, it's important to limit exposure time. The Welder's Hand, in fact, steadies your arm and hand. Some with amusement have called it "training wheels for welders" but HAVS is no laughing matter. By making your hand more steady, your weld is spot on accurate, reducing vibration time and the risk of HAVS, which can lad to tingling in the fingers, "white finger" and reduce your sensitivity to temperature touch and pain.
"HAVS can result in clumsiness, difficulty performing day-to-day tasks, such as opening lids, use of a screw driver, buttoning buttons and handling small change." [Source: Wilhelm Insights, September 22, 2016].
Trigger time--the time it takes for you to depress the trigger and make it operate--is reduced when your hand is held steady. One of the conditions that influences the risk of HAVS is the force exerted upon the product being welded. This is an additional reason why The Welder's Hand is a necessary tool in your toolbox. You execute the act of welding with greater accuracy, reduce trigger time, and reduce vibration time. Vibration-reducing gloves have a limited benefit according to the Wilhelm Institute; more important is that your tools be maintained and you voluntarily limit trigger time, exposure and take a break from welding work so as not to harm yourself with Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome.
Sources: Wilhelm Institute Norsk olje og gass, Health & Safety Executive