Welding in itself is a job where one has to take the utmost precautions and work cannot continue without skipping even one of the steps. Now, imagine underwater welding. It is twice the trouble!
Underwater welding requires the welder to be proficient in their welding practice itself but also be a skilled diver. It is a highly specialized type of welding where people are trained with the skills that they will require along with the precautions they will need to ensure, by hook or by crook. Underwater welding is definitely one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Underwater welders are posed with all kinds of hazards, many of which can be severely fatal if proper precautions are not taken.
Let’s discuss some of these hazards:
The biggest threat any welder has is getting electrocuted, it is all the more intensified when it comes to using their welding material underwater. The welding material they use has to have special waterproof coating. All underwater welding tasks have to be done with this specialised water-proofed, insulated and well tested weldings rods and welding material.
This hazard is why underwater welders have to, without any negotiation, be good swimmers and divers. However, that is just one part of the hazard. The other part is to ensure that the scuba gear the underwater welders wear, has to be of the best quality and has to be checked many times before they start with their project. Even the smallest wear and tear can prove to be lethal here.
The term ‘explosions’ itself is scary enough for us to worry. Now, explosions on land are still somewhat manageable, but underwater explosions are very risky to the welder-diver. This can occur due to the gas pockets that are created with the oxygen and hydrogen created. If even the smallest of spark ignites it, it becomes fatal.
This hazard stems from the diver-swimmer part of the job, but nonetheless, is equally important to talk of as an underwater welder does equal parts welding and swimming. In fact, this is also commonly called a 'diver's disease’ and it can occur if the switch from one pressure zone to the other exposes the welder-diver to harmful gases.
Being underwater for a long period of time means that one is exposed to high pressure continuously over years. This can lead to some kind of long-term ailments related to the ear, nose, throat and ultimately the lungs.
Along with all of these health hazards, underwater welding also means that the welder-diver will have to be more cognizant of their surroundings, since their work renders them to be exposed to a lot of marine wildlife as well.
All their safety protocols, from the scuba gears, to the welding material and consumables, have to be checked regularly in order to ensure that it is up to health standards and doesn’t leave them exposed to any harm.
While underwater welders have it very difficult, they truly add meaning to our lives by helping create humongous structures amidst the sea that we otherwise would not have been able to!