JK Welding recently finished fabricating the bridge for Towne Lake. See some of the photos taken of the project below.

Arc welding can be a hazardous activity, even for the most experienced worker. Whether you’re responsible for a crew’s safety or are an independent fabricator, these tips will help you to keep yourself and others safe.

Tip #1 – Read the owner’s manual, warning labels and relevant codes
The manual will contain important safety information, and warning labels on equipment show you what specifically to avoid doing. Knowing federal, state, and local codes ensure that safe working practices are being followed.


Tip #2 – Avoid electric shock
Arc welders typically operate at a range of 80v to 120v. The shock can be life threatening, particularly if there are preexisting health conditions, and it can cause workers to fall or stumble into other equipment. Do not touch the electrode or the work circuit, and do not access the internal circuits while the unit is live.


Tip #3 – Shield eyes and skin from UV light
Always wear gloves without holes and a proper welding mask. Don’t wear shorts or short sleeves and cover exposed areas of the skin.

Tip #4 – Avoid burns
Avoid handling hot equipment or metal that has recently been welded. If handling it is necessary, use insulated gloves. Allow equipment to cool down before using it again.


Tip #5 – Maintain your equipment
Don’t overuse your equipment as this can cause it to overheat. Allow time for cooling and reduce the current if this occurs. Replace any damaged equipment immediately. Keep cables free of oil and dirt and ensure that electric cables are not frayed.


Tip #6 – Avoid breathing fumes
Ventilate confined spaces or use a respirator. If an area isn’t naturally ventilated, use a fan or other artificial ventilation. Avoid welding on coated materials such as galvanized or cadmium plated steel as these will produce toxic fumes. Do not weld near chemicals. The heat and UV rays can cause them to release fumes.


Tip #7 – Protect your eyes and ears
After removing the welding helmet, wear goggles or safety glasses to prevent slag from entering the eyes. The welding process and some types of equipment can create a lot of noise, so it’s important to wear hearing protection equipment.


Tip #8 – Wear the right gear
Welding can throw of hot bits of debris. Even after the welding job is done, tiny pieces of slag can ping off the weld. Wear leather shoes and a leather apron to prevent clothes from catching fire. Do not wear clothes made of synthetic materials. For better protection, wear a lightweight welding jacket.


Tip #9 – Protect against explosions
Sparks from welding can cause flammable gasses to ignite. In an enclosed space such as a tanker, drum or pipe, this can cause an explosion. Gas cylinders used in the welding process are under high pressure. Keep far enough away in order to avoid sparks or slag and protect them from excessive heat.


Tip #10 – Maintain a safe work environment
Keep your work environment free of clutter to avoid falls or other accidents. Do not work in wet areas or areas which are too cramped. Ensure that all workers know the safety rules and are following them.

In the oil exploration and drilling industry, both on land and off-shore, welders are a vital component. From the initial setup and assembly of the platform or rig to everyday operations and maintenance, welders must be available at any time of the day or night to facilitate maintenance and repairs on the rig, weld pipes and collars and perform any other services the rig operator requires. Welders must abide by strict safety protocols and be able to produce quality work in a variety of potentially hazardous locations and weather conditions. They must also be able to work with different types of materials, have the proper certifications and possess plenty of real-world experience.

While it may tempting to directly employ a team of welders to complete the necessary tasks, in many cases it makes more sense to contract with a rig welding service. Below are eight distinct benefits of hiring a professional rig welding service to handle all of your welding needs.

1. Quality Work
The quality and consistency of individual employees’ skills and work ethics can vary dramatically. In many instances, this can make finding a reliable team of welders quite a challenge. Without the proper experience, welders can make mistakes that are detrimental to the operation and safety of the rig, such as producing weak welds that break and cause injuries, or not following proper safety procedures to prevent fires or explosions.

By contracting with a rig welding service, the task of finding welders to produce quality work lies with the company you hire. By choosing the right service, you can be sure that your job specifications are consistently met. With a variety of employees to choose from, rig welding services can provide personnel with the right experience and equipment for the specific job, whether you need TIG welding, MIG welding, arc welding or pipe welding.

2. Safety
Safety is especially important in oil field and oil rig operations. There are plenty of flammable materials on site, including oil, natural gas, hydrogen sulfide and certain types of flammable building materials. All pose risks of fires or explosions when welding, cutting or grinding. Additionally, there is also a risk of illnesses or injuries from hazards like:

Breathing hydrogen sulfide, natural gas or welding fumes
Tripping and falling
Structural collapses due to weak or contaminated welds
Falling objects
Toxic spills
Individual welders can be lackadaisical on safety protocols, but a rig welding service has a vested interest in following proper safety standards to preserve their reputation and avoid liability. They also have experience in a variety of potentially dangerous situations, are well-versed in the best practices and specific requirements of the industry as well as all local, state and federal safety regulations.

3. Dependability
Individual employees may have varying schedules and might not necessarily be available around the clock or when they are needed the most. With a rig welding service, there is more scheduling flexibility. Depending on the company and the contract, you can have welders on-site whenever they are needed for as long as you need them, for small jobs taking only a few hours to large projects that span months.

4. Knowledge
Employees are limited to their existing skill sets, unless companies invest in extra training for them. But by hiring a rig welding service with specific qualifications, you can be sure that you have all of your welding needs covered. A reputable rig welding company has experience with multiple materials, including these common types:

Stainless steel
Their employees also are proficient at multiple welding techniques like arc, TIG and MIG, and have the experience, knowledge and skills required to work on oil rigs and platforms.

5. Efficiency
Workers that are paid by the hour, or that have a set salary, can be slow and inefficient at times, leading to higher costs and wasted time. For rig welding services, it is in their best interests to provide quality work quickly and efficiently in order to maintain their reputation and turn a profit. With experience gained from multiple jobs in the oil field and on drilling rigs, these contracted welders have the knowledge necessary to get the job done as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible.

6. Equipment Costs
When companies hire individual welders, they usually must provide the welding equipment and consumables like welding rods, oxygen and acetylene. They also have to keep their equipment maintained and in good working order. In most cases, a rig welding service provides their own welding machines, torches, grinders and other tools of the trade. Depending on the contract, they may also provide the consumables as well. By hiring a rig welding service, companies can eliminate the large investment in welding tools and supplies, reduce maintenance costs and eliminate downtime due to delays from repairing welding equipment.

7. Training and Certification
Employees often need a significant amount of on-the-job training, as well as continuing education andrecertification. All of these can be costly, and if the wrong employees are hired, it can be a poor return on investment. By contracting with a rig welding service, you can choose a company that already has employees with proper training and certifications who will continue to invest the time and money needed to remain current on all industry requirements.

8. Liability
Companies are responsible for their employees’ insurance, pension benefits and other expenses and liabilities. When contracting with a rig welding service, they can avoid these extra costs and liabilities and be assured that the service has the proper insurance and certifications necessary for the job. It is the responsibility of the rig welding service to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding quality and safety standards.

When all of these benefits are combined, hiring an outside rig welding service may be the best choice, especially when the costs of equipment, training and other variables are considered. By choosing a rig welding service, companies have the benefit of experience, efficiency and a proven safety record.