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Legal Blog

The Dangers of Underwater Welding

Underwater welding is a specialized type of welding that requires extensive training and specialized skills to perform. It is one of the most dangerous careers in the offshore oil and gas industry while also offering one of the most attractive salaries. Despite the extreme dangers associated with this profession, many workers flock to the field and enjoy working on offshore oil rigs and pipelines that need repairs or construction. Underwater welders face some of the most dangerous work environments on the planet each time they are on the job. Some of these dangers can be fatal or cause long-term health problems.

The following are just some of the dangers faced by underwater welders each day:

1. Electric Shock

Underwater welders are at risk for serious electrocution if they are not cautious while performing their jobs. Underwater welders must wear specialized waterproof equipment. Electrocution can happen if welding equipment is not properly adapted for work under the water. All welding equipment used by underwater welders should be properly insulated and come with waterproof electrodes. All equipment should be tested before use to ensure it is safe and will not cause an electric shock in the water.

2. Explosions

Underwater welding can create gas pockets of hydrogen and oxygen that pose a serious risk to underwater welders. If these gases ignite, it can lead to an explosion that can potentially kill the offshore worker. When wet welding, if you hear a small popping sound, it could be the gases collecting. It is important to stop welding, find where the gases are building up, and solve the problem before an explosion occurs.

3. Decompression Sickness

Decompression sickness is commonly known as diver’s disease. This occurs when a diver ascends too quickly to the surface of the water from down below. The quick change in pressure can result in nitrogen bubbles entering the bloodstream of the diver. These nitrogen bubbles can spread through the diver’s body causing numerous adverse symptoms. Decompression sickness symptoms include rashes, joint pain, paralysis, and even death.

4. Drowning

The risk of drowning is inherent in any underwater profession. Underwater welders, even if they are the best professional divers and swimmers, can drown if their equipment is faulty, ill-maintained, or gets tangled in its own lines. Underwater welders must check their diving equipment before each dive to ensure everything is functioning properly – this includes making sure their air tank is full.

5. Marine Wildlife Attacks

Underwater welders use lights in order to see where they are working while underwater at great depths. These lights can attract plankton which in turn attract fish. It is not surprising then that these fish and their predators can either get in the way of the underwater welders’ work or can attack the welder. Sharks, eels, and other predators are ever-present beneath the water and underwater welders must be aware of and prepared for any marine wildlife that could attack them.

6. Hypothermia

The temperature under the water can get extremely cold and will conduct warmth away from a diver’s body. If an underwater welder stays in the freezing water for too long, it can begin to experience organ failure and metabolism concerns. It is important for all underwater welders to wear insulated rubber wetsuits while working to protect their bodies from the extreme cold.

7. Hearing Impairment

When underwater welders spend a lot of time under high pressure, they can experience temporary and/or permanent hearing loss. There is also the possibility of lung damage and ear damage.

To reduce the likelihood of an underwater fatal accident, welders must be constantly aware of their surroundings and the dangers they face. All underwater welders must follow safety protocols before, during, and after their underwater work. Many welders choose this career path because of the attractive pay, challenging work, and satisfaction in a job well done. Underwater welding is pivotal to many industries all over the world and specially trained welders will always be in high demand. There are currently no other technologies available that can complete the job of an underwater welder.

Houston Offshore Injury Attorneys

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our maritime injury attorneys understand the complexities of the laws governing maritime injuries and resulting damages. We can evaluate the incident that caused your injuries, explain what damages may be available to you, and fight to obtain the compensation that you deserve. We understand the difficulties you may face after an underwater welding accident. We’re proud of our work on offshore injury cases and our successful track record of representing people injured in maritime accidents.

We provide a free consultation if you are seeking compensation for an underwater welding injury. If you are the victim of an offshore accident, it is important to work with offshore injury lawyers who have a significant track record of success. Contact our Houston personal injury law firm today at 281-306-5723 to learn how we can help you.