Welding is responsible for building up our modern infrastructure. Welders work for long hours in sometimes precarious situations where they put their health and safety at risk to do their jobs. Welders account for more than half a million workers across several industries including construction. They face the tremendous risk of fatal injury of more than four deaths per one thousand workers over the course of a lifetime, as per the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Common workplace injuries suffered by welders
Welders face both safety and health risks every day as they do their work. The safety risks include things such as cuts and lacerations, burns, electrocutions, asphyxiation, falls, eye injuries and crushing injuries (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Eye injuries are a significant safety hazard for welders and they can end up with vision problems and blindness from welder’s flash from the infrared and ultra-violet radiation from the welding torch.
Welding can also lead to occupational injuries from exposure to the intense heat while welding, which can damage the worker’s health. Also, welders are constantly exposed to toxic fumes which can cause respiratory disease. Another occupational disease that welders can be prone to develop is manganese poisoning, which is caused by inhaling the manganese fumes that are produced during certain welding projects. The disease is progressive and debilitating, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can have the following symptoms:
- Parkinson’s-like symptoms which include tremors, slowed movement, muscle rigidity and poor balance
- Changes in mood
- Problems with short-term memory
- Altered reaction time
- Reduced hand-eye coordination
OSHA regulations designed to protect welders as they do their jobs
Working with fire and heat, melting metal and fumes is almost a recipe for occupational injuries. Therefore, OSHA has established safety regulations to protect welders as they do their work and prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. OSHA regulations require the use of safety equipment such as safety masks that provide eye protection, special gloves and protective work shoes. There are also regulations about the ventilation in workspaces where welding will be occurring, protecting workers from excessive noise exposure, fire safety and controlling the hazardous fumes and gases that are prevalent while workers are welding.
Workers compensation for welding accident injuries
Welders who have been injured on the job are protected by workers’ compensation, which provided compensation to cover the medical expenses that can arise from a workplace injury. When the worker is not able to return to work because they must rest and recover from their injuries, workers’ compensation covers a portion of their lost wages. It also pays lump-sum settlements for loss-of use and permanent injuries or disabilities. But sometimes disputes arise and an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer might deny a worker’s claim, or terminate coverage before the worker is fully ready to return to work. In the event of a dispute about a workers’ compensation claim, an experienced, Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney will represent your interests and they will not charge you a fee unless they can win compensation on your behalf.
If you have suffered a workplace injury caused by a welding accident, you can feel confident that your interests are being represented when you have been injured at work when you work with Larry Pitt & Associates. We offer all the legal guidance and support that you need to protect your rights. Please feel free to call us at 888.PITT.LAW or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.