(MARSHALL, Texas) – Keeping students safe while welding is a top priority for Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology instructors.
Philip Miller, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Marshall, said students learn about safety in the first couple of weeks each semester. Personal protection equipment is one of the most important topics covered.
“We have a PowerPoint we show them, and we read through it and they ask us questions,” Miller said.
Students must pass a safety quiz in every class before undertaking welding in labs.
Safety extends beyond what students need to wear when welding.
“Recently we moved a metal rack in the lab because it was in the way of the general flow of the room,” Miller said. “We picked up some things off the ground that may have been small trip hazards. We have added a lot of safety things in the last few months.”
Mark Wilfert, an instructor in TSTC’s Occupational Safety Compliance Technology program, said the work of welders is guided by separate general industry and construction industry regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The regulations are taught in two classes that students take as part of the OSCT program.
Wilfert said welders must wear eye protection, protective gloves, hearing protection, a leather protective shirt, nonslip boots, and helmets with the proper shading. According to OSHA guidelines, the type of welding being done is dependent on the shading of the helmets.
Some of the risks Wilfert said welders can encounter if not properly protected include electrocution, vision problems caused by bright lights, and eye and skin injuries.This is why TSTC places so much emphasis on safety in the Welding Technology program.
TSTC’s technical programs are the key to creating the next generation of well-trained skilled and safety-minded welders that are needed in the growing workforce.
Many workplaces have occupational health and safety specialists and technicians who inspect and test equipment, draft workplace processes for safety and health, and investigate workplace incidents. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted the need for workers to rise to more than 125,000 by 2028 due to an aging workforce and insurance costs.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.