Underwater welding presents plenty of health and safety hazards. There’s the potential for serious burns, damage to eyes and even explosion. These are all significant risks, but they are child’s play compared to the dangers of underwater welding. Here’s a look at the dangers that underwater welders face on a daily basis. Spoiler alert: it’s not for the faint of heart.
Electric shock. Even toddlers know that water and electricity do not mix, so imagine what the first underwater welder was feeling when he took an electric powered weld gun in his hands and dove beneath the waves. There are plenty of welding tools specifically designed for underwater use, but it’s important for them to undergo proper testing before actually putting them to work. As long as the electrode being utilized is properly insulated and waterproof, things can go smoothly. If not, a lethal shock is a real possibility.
Decompression sickness. Underwater welders regularly deal with diver’s sickness. This happens when a person moves from a high pressure zone into a low pressure zone, in this case from on land to hundreds of feet under water. When pressure changes, the potential of inhaling dangerous gases (like nitrogen) increases. Nitrogen bubbles in the blood stream trigger a number of side effects, from joint pain and extreme nausea to death.
Dangerous wildlife. The ocean is full of creatures big and small, some more dangerous than others. Underwater welders always have to be on the look out for large seafaring creatures (ie: sharks and whales), but even seemingly innocent schools of fish or curious seals can cause problems. If an underwater welder feels in danger at anytime, they’re always in contact with a team on shore. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee their safety, but it sure goes a long way to adding some security.