Welding, which involves fusing metals together at high heat, is an important part of construction, and therefore it is an in-demand and lucrative profession. Successful completion of a welding project requires the workers to have the right training and certifications and the employer responsible for the job site to adhere to workplace safety standards. If these conditions are not met, it is a recipe for preventable accidents, which can include very painful injuries, some of which can be permanent. If you have been injured in a welding accident, contact an Omaha construction accident lawyer at Andres Law Offices, PC LLO.
Workplace Safety Requirements for Welding
Welding is considered a hot work process, which means that it puts workers into direct contact with flammable materials. Completing the work requires having an open flame or open electric arc near your hands and face, therefore you must wear protective gear such as helmets, goggles, and leather jackets and gloves while welding. The welding helmets required by current safety standards come with face plates that protect the wearer from ultraviolet exposure. To protect workers at the construction site who are outside the immediate vicinity of the welding operation from the UV rays, the welding area should be enclosed in translucent polyvinyl chloride curtains. To prevent fires and explosions, the amount of oxygen in the air should be limited, and combustible materials should not be kept near the welding site.
Common Types of Injuries Resulting from Welding Accidents
The process of welding creates fumes containing manganese and other heavy metals, which are harmful if inhaled. Occupational exposure to these fumes can cause neurological problems, pulmonary fibrosis and liver or kidney disease. Besides health hazards related to exposure to fumes, the following other types of injuries can result from welding accidents:
- Ultraviolet keratitis (irritation of the eye caused by ultraviolet exposure, like a sunburn of the eye)
- Burn injuries
- Electric shocks
- Hearing damage due to exposure to noise above 85 decibels
The Legal Rights of Injured Welders in Nebraska
If you get injured in a welding accident or diagnosed with an occupational disease related to welding, the first thing you should do, after receiving emergency medical treatment, of course, is file a workers’ compensation claim. You do not need to prove negligence on the part of your employer for your workers’ compensation claim to be approved and paid. Getting the treatment you need through workers’ compensation is not always easy, though. The more serious your injuries, and therefore the more expensive your treatment and the longer you must stay out of work, the higher the chances that your employer will deny the claim. (Even though you must only prove that the injury is work-related, you would be surprised how many employers try to argue that a welder’s hearing loss is because he went to too many rock concerts when he was young.) If you know that you will require a lot of treatment, it is a good idea to contact a work injury lawyer even before you receive a decision about your initial workers’ compensation claim.
Contact Andres Law Offices, PC LLO in Omaha, Nebraska about your welding accident case.