In accordance with the dangers of underwater welding, underwater welding is one of the professions with the highest death rates. Our prime fatality rate stands somewhere around 15%, which can be nearly 1,000 times more dangerous when compared to a police officer’s job. And that’s merely the statistics to the death rate. It doesn’t even mention some of the severe and permanent injuries that the technicians suffer while working underwater.
Why do you reckon underwater welding offers such decent pay rates? It’s due to risks involved in the job. You happen to be never sure whether you will come out of it alive. Even if you come out of it alive, you could acquire long-term medical issues. Simply speaking, it is one of the most dangerous jobs that can bring about your death.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t keep records of underwater welding injuries and fatalities, many studies rank this maritime job as being a deadly profession. You should have extensive training and experience to adhere to each of the safety protocols both before and after performing the welding task at hand. Professionals also receive specialized training to make certain they could take care of any unforeseen events underwater. Top-notch experts supervise the welders’ work closely. Everyone uses state-of-the-art machines in order to avoid accidents, severe injuries, and more importantly, death.
Is it worth becoming an underwater welder?
Underwater welding can be a profitable job due to the high salary. But it includes its unique risks. As well as the risks are really dangerous that you might acquire life-threatening diseases as well as die while working. Therefore, you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages from the profession just before getting into this industry. Here are a few factors why many people don’t choose underwater welding as being a profession:
- Expense of training – As mouth-water as the salary looks, the courses price is also sky-high. This often puts off newbie welders. You should enroll yourself in a commercial diving school to have certifications. Consult with your nearest school to determine the total price of tuition and certification fees. That will help you decide whether you want to spend lavishly about the training of the profession where you may meet death on your own first work day.
- Job flexibility – Most welding divers are not really acquainted with the commercial facet of underwater welding. They like offshore jobs. You might get a higher salary, but things get complicated once you don’t get leaves for vacations like in other industries. Your household commitments may go for a toss once you start this task full-time.
- Age and skill – There exists a common belief that the younger you begin with this profession, the higher it is for you. That’s a myth. On the other hand, the better experience you then become, the better valuable the services you provide get. And although starting early offers you lots of time to gain experience, it doesn’t discount the fact that seasoned welders always get first preference over newbie welders.
Common reasons creating underwater welding
Several risks contribute to the underwater welding death rate. The subsequent reasons may place you off from considering it as a a profession, but it’s simply to keep you updated with what may occur. The decision and courage are completely yours. Here are among the common reasons that lead to underwater welding deaths:
1. Getting hypothermia
The toughest part about underwater welding is you should operate in cold temperatures for extended periods. You can’t emerge after completing half the job. The cold temperature often conducts heat away from your body. Should you remain submerged underwater for extended periods, you could experience metabolic issues. In certain worst cases, you could experience organ failures also. The most effective safety measure, in this instance, is always to wear an insulated rubber wetsuit when you are down. And even more importantly, attempt to finish the job as fast as possible.
Water is one of the best conductors of electricity. As well as the job of an underwater welder is to try using electrical appliances underwater. Could you comprehend the risk involved now? Electric shocks are mainly fatal. You might either experience paralysis or die instantly should you can’t get rid of the machine with time. Electrocution happens if you use welding machines which are not sufficiently adapted for underwater usage. Every machine that you apply needs to be waterproof are available with proper insulation. Double-check the machines before you take them down because once you begin using them, you should depend upon them completely before you finish your job.
Regardless of whether your whole body can sustain the cold temperature underwater and steer clear of electrocution, you are unable to escape the grasp of water’s differential pressure. The worst part concerning this job is the most experienced underwater welders can drown. To make this worse, you can’t easily detect differential pressures. You can find it almost impossible to escape if you achieve trapped in the flow. It’s like someone is pushing you down even when you are attempting your greatest to come up.
Apart from differential pressures, old gear or poorly-maintained gear may also contribute to drowning in underwater welding. Alternatively, your hose, mask, or oxygen tank might also give way, creating severe suffocation and death. Many cases claim that underwater welders tangled themselves accidentally inside their items when the visibility dropped since they went deeper.
4. Decompression illness
Some underwater welders dive too fast because they need to complete the task and are available out quickly. The situation with diving fast between pressure zones is basically that you may inhale harmful gases. And inhaling a lot of these harmful gases may result in your death. You won’t have even time to swim to your boat or shore. Like drowning, decompression sickness is yet another common cause of underwater welding deaths. You should take care of your diving speed before you reach your workspace. Similarly, you can’t hurry to the shore. You have to conserve a stable speed that doesn’t hinder pressure zones.
Hydrogen and oxygen combine to make multiple gas pockets underwater. These gas pockets can explode anytime and without any warnings, creating life-threatening injuries or death. The explosion might not seem as colossus as the ones you can see on a lawn, but it’s enough for taking your breath away.
How exactly does underwater welding work?
Electricity isn’t the sole dangerous factor that you need to know about in underwater welding. Underwater welders use stick welding that uses a power arc as the primary energy source. Alternatively, wet welding involves building a thick layer of bubbles as flux. They evaporate slowly as the flux touches the tip from the welding rod. The gas layer from the stick welding machine functions as a shield on the weld. It prevents the weld from oxidizing compounds and water.
Joining two metal pieces underwater isn’t easy, understandably. You should consider a lot of factors and in addition keep safety concerns in mind while working. The latest underwater welding technique involves by using a dry chamber system. These are generally temporary hyperbaric chambers that prevent water from entering your job area, thus preventing electrocution. The chambers are spacious enough to accommodate up to three welders together.
As you now know the dangers involved in underwater welding, can you consider taking it as the lifetime profession? Should you, it’s best to enroll in one of the best training institutes. Take note of both theoretical and practical training. Furthermore you will get hands-on training to have a solid idea of what it’s like to work alongside the welding machines underwater.