Safety procedures are critical factors that ensure a safe workplace. Plastic weld is comparatively a less complicated and risky welding process as it does not involves the production of flames, torch or smokes. There is always a risk involved in the operations and handling of machines and tools with the dynamic and hot part. Proper flow of work, clean environment, experienced and trained technicians can avoid major mishaps and accidents ensuring smooth operation. Maintaining tools and equipment in good condition also add value to the investment and saves a lot of money. Follow a few simple steps that can ensure the safety of the technician, the tool and the workplace.
Detailed Instruction and Safety Guidelines/Checklist when doing a Plastic Weld.
- Review the Product Manual, Hand Guide, Website for Safety Instruction.
A detailed instruction manual is attached to plastic welding equipment, which can be referred to read all the important safety instructions in handling plastic weld tools and equipment. In case of any uncertainties regarding safety, the manufacturing company should be contacted.
- Read the Material Safety Data [M.S.D] Sheets.
M.S.D sheets contain all necessary data on the plastic weld, it is advisable to refer M.S.D sheets along with the plastic or the substrate to find compatibility or conflicting issues. The details about the welding rod and its compatibility with the substrate or plastic should also be cross-checked using the Weld Rod Test Kit (RTK) to avoid damaging the substrate surface. These sheets also have important details on the hazardous contents in the substrate or plastic, preventive measure, preventing fire hazard and explosions along with the first-aid recommendation incase of fire accident or chemical injury.
- Equip Employee with the latest know-how and training
Welding requires precision and acumen; it can be mastered through proper training and the right kind of exposure. There can be serious or minor worst-case scenarios during the operation because of small negligence or poor maintenance of weld guns, cords or other parts. There should be a practical demonstration of machines and tools operating in a proper manner, like switching on/off the welder, operate, proper handling, etc. and most importantly, its maintenance during operation and idle content.
- Station the Machines and Tools when not in use.
The welding gun will be in an idle state during an interval or after the operation is completed, this idle state retains heat in its metal part, which may prove harmful to the human body or materials with a low melting point. There is also a probability of hot air coming out from the nozzle that may cause skin injuries. This can be avoided if a few things are kept in mind. Always keep the nozzle away at a certain distance from the body; also never let the nozzle be exposed to inflammable materials, avoiding any chance of fire or physical damage. The nozzle should be kept in a locked position when in idle condition. Nozzle mechanism may differ in welding guns accordingly. Refer to the instruction manual for a better understanding of parts and mechanisms of the weld gun.
- Clean the Workplace and Maintain a safe system of work
The workplace must be cleaned from any clutter, debris, metal chips, tools and chords that can disrupt the free movement of the welding technicians. It must be kept in mind that weld technicians in some cases may wear heavy protective gear, helmets, and protective eyeglasses; this can sometimes create a blind spot for welders, such working environments are hazardous and can lead to major health injuries. To avoid this, it is very important to clear all the debris and leftover metal pieces, cords, wires, metal chips out of their work movement. Ensure proper surface clearance of tools and machines to avoid abrasion, corrosion or material build-up that may decrease the life of the tool or weld gun. Maintaining a free flow of movement is important in a work environment, welding at the basic is energy exchange that may behave abruptly in confined spaces. Take all necessary action to avoid Asphyxiation, which is the major cause of death in workplaces.
- Important Safety guidelines for Plastic Welding
- The most important precaution is to leave the possibility of using a flammable gas during hot air plastic welding. [DO NOT USE INFLAMMABLE GAS]
- Do not coil or wind cables around the body
- Set the air pressure limit to allow the optimum flow of air first, followed by the heating process (Use the manual to refer the best pressure setting (4-7 psi is the standard-setting). The air pressure setting may vary with different welder model.
- Do not touch the welding guns’ hot metal surface or part; wait for it is cooled down.
- It is advisable to make use of a metal plier to replace and remove the nozzle or the tip of the plastic welding gun.
- After the operation, it is advised to maintain the airflow in the gun even after disconnecting from the electricity, which ensures the better shelf life of the heating element.
- Maintain Ergonomics by sufficing proper work platforms and enough ventilation.
- Are fumes coming out of Plastic Weld Safe?
Plastic weld in materials like PVC results in the production of fumes, which may not necessarily harm the technicians. Although there can be a major health crisis to technicians exposed to such gases for a long period. Plastic welding of PVC material should not be performed in confined space or in a poorly ventilated workspace. It is advisable to follow safe weld practices in well-ventilated areas or in case consider using an extraction process of fumes periodically. Breathing protection can help in avoiding Suffocation or Asphyxiation in a poorly ventilated workplace. Technicians with respiratory disorders should strictly follow the above instructions.