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Flash burns happen quick


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I used a mig welder at work today to put together a couple pieces for a project that I keep ruining at the house with my cheap stick welder. Well I've heard of flash burns and have never experienced them until now. I was only welding for maybe 10-15 minutes and on the front of my left upper arm (the most exposed part of my arm) I have definitely got something that looks like a good sunburn from hours of direct sunlight.

I just wanted to bring this to the attention to those of us, like myself, who are new to welding. Guys it only takes a couple minutes to get burned. If I'd been welding longer I'm sure I would've gotten a much worse burn. 

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Treat it as a bad sunburn, quick !!

That is exactly why long sleeves, high collar shirts (no V necks), gloves, and covering ALL exposed skin is suggested.

I had a triangle red sunburn on my belly after a shower. Could not figure out what happened. A little research concluded that the red triangle matched the triangular hole in my shirt. Holes in jeans will allow the arc to get to the legs also. Another reason for chaps or an apron. (grin)

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I wear a shirt with the sleeves cut off most of the time simply because I get hot quickly. I know to cover up and I should have grabbed the sleeves and gloves that were sitting right there by the helmet when I put it on but I neglected to do so and have learned the lesson the hard way instead of heading others warnings. I didn't get any burns on my stomach even with the holes I had but I think that was simply because of them being smaller than a nickel and the short duration.

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Sadly one can't afford linen for a work shirt, nor summer weight wool, cotton really sucks in the warm humid south, so one resorts to cutting the sleeves out of shirts (or wearing bibs shirtless) the synthetics that mimic wool and linen melt or go up in flames...

the south just kind of sucks for welding and forge work in the warm months. 

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Aloe Vera jell will help ease the burn, it's not bad enough for Silvadine. Any gas assisted arc radiates more UV, the smoke from a stick or flux core weld helps block the UV 75/25 or argon not so. Let's hope this lesson isn't too costly Michael, comfort over the short term can mean injury or worse. When I saw the "Flash burn" subject I was dreading reading about someone who flash blinded him/er self. A little scorched hide is going to be painful, hopefully enough to remember.

Been there done that. I've started spraying myself with SF50 sun screen just because even reflections can get you.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I didn't know the gas was in any way responsible. I just (wrongfully) assumed it was because the arc was much closer than when I use a stick welder and because I'm already getting used to not working in the sun anymore and the sudden intense uv on my newly unuccstomed skin was just too much. 

I will be looking into buying some proper gear for my shop. I do have a hood and long gloves but think it's time for a little more. Maybe I'll find me some nice button up shirts at the thrift store made from the right material to cover my upper arms. It also wouldn't hurt to get an apron and make/buy some shoe shields while I'm at it.

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A round neck shirt is fine as long as the hood covers the throat. There is a clip on leather shield that fits the bottom of the hood that can be found at a welding supply store.  While your there look at the leather aprons, sleeves, tig gloves, and other PPE. Also look at the full face shields for grinding etc, and they should have an assortment of safety glasses in several styles. While your there ask about used equipment such as welders, Ox/Ac torches, plasma cutters, cold cut saws, and many other items that will help to relieve that excess stuffing in your wallet. (grin)

If you do not already have a fire extinguisher, find and buy one. I prefer CO2 as there is little clean up. I have used a dry powder extinguisher and it worked well but the clean up was intense. Choose the type extinguisher for the type fire your trying to put out.

 

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On 7/18/2016 at 9:52 PM, Glenn said:

If you do not already have a fire extinguisher, find and buy one. I prefer CO2 as there is little clean up. I have used a dry powder extinguisher and it worked well but the clean up was intense. Choose the type extinguisher for the type fire your trying to put out.

Choose the type extinguisher for the type fire you're trying to put out? Uh . . . Glenn, shouldn't you pick the extinguisher BEFORE you're trying to put a fire out?

Seriously take a good look at what you have in your shop and pick fire extinguishers by the type fire you're MOST LIKELY to have. Then hang them by the exits! Do NOT hang fire extinguishers WHERE a fire is likely you do NOT want to have to reach through a fire to get the extinguisher. If however your extinguishers are near the exit you're already moving in the correct direction. Once you're at the exit you can turn around and decide if you have time to fight a fire. IF you can get an extinguisher on a fire quickly enough, sometimes you only have seconds you can contain it and stop it cold. Unfortunately some fires only need seconds to spread beyond a hand carry extinguisher's capacity.

Frosty The Lucky.

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As you said, purchase fire extinguishers by the type fire you're MOST LIKELY to have. (Thank you for the correction)

Choose the extinguisher size so it can be used by MOST people, and extinguish the size fire your most likely to have. Inspect them on a regular basis to see they are still up to operational condition, etc. (depending on the type of extinguisher)

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On the extinguisher topic, I would add that most extinguishers don't have enough oomph in them to get you very far on a fire.  Be sure you know when it's time to bail out.  An extinguisher is important for the initial flush of a fire but if it's gone much farther, you'd be better off getting your tail out than fighting the losing battle.  It's only "stuff".

Brought this up because there are so many examples of people putting themselves in danger, using one of those tiny kitchen fire extinguishers on a flaming wall that's spreading fast.  The adrenalin rush seems to make them think a gallon of fluid is going to be effective on a bonfire.

It really helps to "practice" at least once with an extinguisher on a controlled burn also.  Sometimes you can get hold of an older extinguisher (they are supposed to be replaced  or expensively professionally serviced every 5 years in most areas per fire code) to "practice" with.  In corporate trainings, I've seen  people aim poorly and actually make the fire spread from the extinguisher pressure.  If you can get a small group together,  many local fire departments love to help with this kind of thing also so might be a resource.

Oh...Freezing conditions.  Check that on the extinguishers you might buy.  Mine happen to be happy below freezing but many aren't.

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Thanks everyone for the pointers on fire extinguishers. It reminds me I need to get mine recertified and refilled (not all are empty) and it wouldn't hurts to get another. Fire extinguishers are like $100 bills (the green kind not the kind you owe) you can never have too many and I never feel like I have enough.

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