Welding is a very versatile and handy skill to have, giving you the ability to fix, maintain and even create a huge range of items. Safety should be the first thing in every welder's mind, however, as insufficient precautions can lead to serious injuries. Here’s our guide to ensuring your safety when welding.

Common hazards


When you are welding, you are at risk of electric shocks. Touching two pieces of metal that are holding a charge will insert the welder into the circuit and can cause sudden discharges of electricity which can lead to death in some extreme cases.


The process of welding causes fumes and gases to be released, often in very close proximity to the nose and mouth of the welder. These fumes can contain seriously harmful metals like beryllium, arsenic and lead, as well as other dangerous substances like nitrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrogen fluoride. Prolonged exposure can result in asthma, pneumonia, throat and lung irritation, or an increased risk of cancer.


Physical injuries sustained while welding can include everything from eye damage to burns. Burns are probably the most common and can come from sparks, splatters or poor control of the welding torch and/or materials. Even experienced welders can be tempted to just pick up the torch for a couple of quick welds without spending the time to get all the relevant personal protective equipment (PPE) on – this is when risks are at their highest.


Sparks and molten metal spatter can ignite flammable items in your workshop, starting fires that can rapidly get out of control. If you have fuels or pressurised canisters/containers on site, these could even explode.

Safety best practices

For safe welding always:
  • Work in a ventilated space – open windows, use fans or exhaust equipment to keep the air clear of fumes.
  • Check your equipment – valves, hoses and electrodes should all be checked to make sure they are in good order.
  • Insulate – never allow electrodes or metals to come into contact with your bare skin, and make sure that your gloves are dry, clean and in sound condition.
  • Tidy up – make sure that stray sparks or metal spatter can’t ignite anything. Clear a bigger area than you think you need and don’t forget about wall coverings like posters, calendars and wallpaper.
  • Dress appropriately – you will need a leather apron, sturdy, insulated gloves or gauntlets, and either a full-face helmet or goggles, as well as boots. Make sure your goggles/masks are tinted to reduce the light intensity from your torch tip. It can be easy to forget about the hazards associated with prolonged exposure to loud noise – use ear protection to minimise the risk of damage to your hearing.
  • Be proactive – if a fire or other emergency does take place, time is of the essence. Before you start welding, make sure you know exactly where to find the fire extinguisher, an emergency shut-off, a first aid kit or and the emergency exit, so you’re ready to act fast if problems arise.