Have you ever wondered about underwater welding? Or have you ever thought of taking this profession seriously? And if you have, then you must be aware of the dangers involved in this profession. “Why is underwater welding so dangerous?”
If you have ever got a chance to work underwater, you must be fully aware of the thing that is first advised before diving into the water. And that very important thing is safety. A proper understanding of the whole process can help the mission go successfully.
Otherwise, there is also a chance that circumstances might not go your way. Exactly to what extent underwater welding can be dangerous?
Here we will be discussing the dangers you might face if you weld underwater. So let’s resolve this curiosity together.
Underwater welding is similar to other types of weldings but it demands particular skills and training. You might have to work offshore and underwater to weld and repair.
But this is not simple at all. if you are not careful, you can open the doors of danger. Underwater welders have a high earring rate. But their fatality rate is high as well.
Until now we have only said that it is a fatal job but how fatal? Let’s check it out.
Why is underwater welding so dangerous?
Underwater welders work to repair oil pipelines and ships. They are considered very important in the field of petroleum.
They have to weld and repair pipelines and equipment underwater. Because some machinery and equipment cannot be taken out of water for maintenance.
They have to work in the dept of water in dark places. They often get injured and in worst cases, underwater welding might result in death.
Underwater welding risks
Here are the risks you might face while doing underwater welding:
- Electric shock
- Wildlife attack
- Decompression sickness
- Ear, lungs, and nose damage
There is a common term used by people who work as underwater welders. It is called “wet welding”.
It has this name because there is water everywhere when they work in oceans and deep seas. Water is resistant to electricity. So if you are not being careful, current can freely flow in the water.
If your body comes in contact with electric water, you will get an electric shock. Especially the welders who work in areas called “splash zones” are at greater risk of electric shock.
They have to maintain their specific positions in water until the task is completed. Otherwise, water waves can cause huge disturbances and throw you out of your place. You might get stuck in the entangled wires and machinery.
Not exactly attack but the light coming from welding can attract marine animals for example plankton. They are not considered dangerous for life. But they can result in interference in your work.
During working, marine animals might get in your way. And now what? Wait for them to go their way so you can continue your work.
This can result in time delay and put you at risk. Also if you are working in big oceans and seas, there is a risk of sharks. Stay low to avoid getting injured.
Welding underwater results in the production of hydrogen and oxygen. If these gases are accumulated in high volume, they can be very explosive.
During underwater welding, you might hear the sound of bubbles popping. And if you do, it is a sign of danger. You must immediately stop welding and get out of the water.
The bubble popping sound you hear is the sound of hydrogen and oxygen gases. They travel up and gather there. When collected in a sufficiently large amount, you will see an explosion.
When you are done with welding, don’t rush to get out of the water. Instead, swim to the surface in nice and slow motion.
While welding, the water present in that area is filled with welding gases. That is the main concern that you have to avoid to get to the surface harmless.
Sometimes, welders move toward the surface very quickly ignoring all the gases surrounding them. As a result, these gases enter their body and spread into the bloodstream.
This results in a condition known as “decompression sickness” or “bends”. Due to this, a welder might experience fatigue, pain, and itching on different parts of the body.
Body parts affected by bends
The body parts which are mainly affected by bends are:
- Ears etc.
Ears, lungs, and nose damage
Be cautious about your body conditions as well while you are underwater. Otherwise, high water pressure can cause ears, lungs, and nose problems.
Avoid spending too much time underwater. It can prove fatal for your body.
Doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are or how well your diving is. A risk factor is always involved which you cannot eliminate without being extra careful.
Equipment failing and malfunctioning can increase the risk for a welder. So all the diving equipment must be properly checked before use. Leakage or failure in your oxygen equipment can put your life on the line.
Besides, when the water currents are high, the risk is even greater. High-pressure waves can pull you with them and you might crash into the rocks and pipes. Due to this, you might get drowned.
You are fully aware of the physics of water. it gets colder as you go deeper. And the colder it becomes, the more difficult it is to survive such conditions.
If your body comes in contact with water, it loses all the heat. It can freeze your organs and can also cause respiratory problems. And worst can be a reason for death.
In deep cold water, the risk of hypothermia also increases. It is a state or condition that occurs when the body is subjected to cold temperatures for a long time.
The body loses its heat faster and also the energy is gone in a while. Body parts stop working and cause organ failure. If it affects your brain, you might not able to think clearly.
Some of the questions people also ask:
As you know everything has its pros and cons. Similar is the case with underwater diving. No doubt that it is one of the highest-paid professions. But the risk factors are still involved. They cannot be eliminated entirely. Proper care and prevention can be taken to avoid any mishap and danger.
Underwater welding might appear fascinating to you and it is. Because you get to experience underwater life, a whole different ecosystem. And you get to travel and see a lot of new things. With this being said, the risk involved in the profession is even more serious and bigger.