Welding and fabrication present some of the most hazardous working conditions a person can expose themselves to. However, fabrication shops contribute to the manufacturing of countless products and structures that make our lives easier. So, while the welding industry isn’t going anywhere, there are precautions you can take to reduce fire hazards in your fabrications shop.
Continue reading for more information on how to make your fab shop safer, and contact United Steel Products in New York City to learn more about how fire doors and fire shutters can help contain fires in the event of an emergency.
Remove Combustible Materials from Welding Areas
While the project at hand may be your main focus, it’s important to remove combustible materials from the area surrounding where you’re doing your welding. Combustible material includes plastics, chemicals, gases, as well as flooring, partitions, and walls.
Dust and sawdust also pose a hazard for fires, so cleaning up the shop regularly and thoroughly will help prevent fires.
Know How Far Sparks Fly
When you’re working on a welding project, make note of how far the sparks are actually flying. This is an indication of how far away combustible items should be at the very minimum.
Sparks can fly up to 35 feet and will remain hot. While it isn’t always feasible to set apart this large area for welding, it’s important to remove items that pose the largest threat from this radius.
Always Wear PPE
Personal protection equipment, or PPE, is required for welders to protect them from sparks, molten metal, and other fire hazards. Coveralls, gloves, and a welding helmet will prevent sparks from burning the welder and can also prevent fires in the first place.
Other options for PPE include long-sleeve shirts and pants that come over the top of shoes. These clothing items should be flame-retardant and not made of synthetic material.
Fix Cracks and Holes
While some combustible materials may be obvious and easy to remove, other hazards include cracks, holes, and crevices around the shop. This is because sparks and molten metal can become wedged in these areas and ignite after several minutes or hours.
To prevent this, it’s important to fix or cover as many cracks and holes around your shop as you can — especially ones close to the welding area. Use non-flammable material or screens to cover these hazards.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher
Even when you take several cautions to prevent fires in your fabrication shop, they can still occur. It’s just as important to prepare for an emergency as it is to try and prevent an emergency, so make sure you have a fire extinguisher at the ready.
There are different types of fire extinguishers, so make sure you choose the one best suited for the materials that are most likely to catch on fire.
Install Fire Doors and Shutters
Fire extinguishers aren’t the only thing you should have installed in the event of a fire. In the event that a fire grows out of control, it’s important to have fire doors and shutters installed to prevent it from spreading and causing any more damage to your fabrication shop.
Fire doors and shutters can be programmed with smoke detection, will automatically close in the event of a fire, and will shut for a pre-designated amount of time in order to contain fires.
At United Steel Products, we offer several different models of fire doors and fire shutters to help protect you, your crew, and your equipment in the event of a fire. If you’re ready to add another preventative measure against fire hazards to your fabrication shop, contact USP in New York City today.