Welding is a crucial part of a maintenance plan for many plants. Staying focused on the safety aspect of this skill will help ensure that employees and equipment stay safe at all times. Keep the following tips in mind when maintenance projects arise that require welding.

1. Safety is the First Objective

All instruction manuals should be read for any welding equipment that will be employed. Unless a particular piece of equipment is utilized on a regular basis, employees should take the time to go over how to properly use the welding equipment they have been assigned. This is especially critical if the equipment is new to the employee.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Like almost any other skill, welding takes practice to fine-tune the right techniques. Make sure that employees who will be welding have the opportunity to practice their skills on a regular basis. This is just one reason why it is a good idea to have at least one person whose primary job is to weld.

3. Check Credentials

Before anyone is assigned a welding job, it is imperative that his or her credentials are checked. Ideally, the employee should hold a welding degree or certification from an accredited school. 

4. Gather Your Gear

Welding can be a dangerous job, hence the need for extensive training. In addition, it is essential for plant safety that the proper equipment is available for every welding job. Specially designed welding gear including gloves, clothing and helmets are necessary to protect welders from the extreme heat and sparks that are emitted by welding equipment. Keeping gear such as helmets clean and free of debris helps welders maintain a clear view of their project.

5. Prep Materials Before Welding

In order to make a clean weld, it is vital to prep the surfaces to be joined. This involves removing as much of the rust, dirt and debris as possible. If a solvent is needed to remove these elements, make certain that the surfaces are completely dry and free of solvent before any welding begins.

6. Clear Space

While some tight spaces are to be expected (especially in the manufacturing industry), if possible dismantle parts that must be welded before moving them to a safe area. This step is necessary if the parts to be maintained are located close to gas lines or other sources of flammable materials.