(WACO, Texas) – In Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program, the issue of safety is as hot as the sparks flying off welding torches.
The program has an orientation during the first semester before classes start for students to learn how to prevent injury to the hands and eyes, along with other topics, said Carl Wilmeth, lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Waco.
The students take safety quizzes to see what they know before they begin welding. And, they learn how to do a job-safety analysis used to describe problems and hazards before lab work begins.
Wilmeth said the program simulates as closely as possible what happens in the welding industry regarding health and safety.
“By the second semester, we are hammering them real hard on safety,” he said.
Mark Wilfert, an instructor in TSTC’s Occupational Safety Compliance Technology program in Waco, 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 in the OSCT program.
Wilfert said people who do welding should wear eye protection, protective gloves, hearing protection, a leather protective shirt, nonslip boots, and helmets with the proper shading. He said the degree of shading on helmets is determined by the type of welding being done, as mandated by OSHA.
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.
The precautions taught in TSTC’s welding classes highlight not only the value of earning a degree at a college like TSTC< but also the importance of workplace safety.
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 that the need for workers will 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.