The dangers of underwater welding

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2021 | Commercial Seamen |

Underwater welding is a career that requires extensive training, specialized skills and a sense of adventure. It can be a lot more dangerous than most welding jobs, but underwater welders – particularly those who work offshore, are typically well-compensated for their work. 

Offshore underwater welders often work on oil rigs, pipelines and ships. Some underwater welders work inland on construction, repair and surveying projects on dams, bridges and vessels. 

This occupation requires workers to be in good physical condition. Most companies require their underwater welders to be certified as “fit for duty.” However, the risks of underwater welding can lead to injuries and medical conditions that can have long-term implications. Some are fatal. That’s why extensive training for the conditions they’ll be working under is crucial.

Risks of serious and fatal injury

The most common threat for underwater welders is electrocution. When equipment hasn’t been properly adapted for use underwater and thoroughly tested, it can shock a welder who’s working on it. 

Explosions, which can be lethal, are also a serious risk. These can occur when a gas pocket formed by oxygen and hydrogen is ignited. Drowning is also a risk. It’s usually caused by old or poorly maintained equipment. It can also be caused by getting tangled in equipment lines or other underwater obstacles.

Potential medical conditions that can result from underwater welding work

Besides these traumatic injuries, underwater welders are at risk of serious conditions caused by diving and working under the water. These include:

  • Decompression sickness
  • Hypothermia
  • Hearing impairment and other ear damage
  • Lung damage

If you or a loved one has been injured or developed a job-related medical condition, you need appropriate compensation to deal with medical expenses, lost wages and more. Be sure that you know your rights and how to seek the compensation you deserve.