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How to Decrease Preventable (and Costly) Welding Workplace Injuries

The dark cloud of a welder shortage is looming. But the good news is, fabricators of large, heavy metal materials have options that can help them raise productivity and power through daunting labor challenges...

Other than stunt performers, most people don’t enjoy feeling like they’re in danger at work.

However, many injuries at manufacturing plants and fabrication shops aren’t catastrophic meltdowns or heavy objects crashing down from above. Instead, they’re the result of simple overexertion – a lift here and a push there. 

Positioners Have Come to Save the Day

Thankfully, welders have more control and flexibility over their craft than ever before. To reduce labor and material costs, new forms of technology, such as automated welding positioners with tutorial and tracking software, can provide additional quality control measures that can help reduce mistakes and potential injuries.

These positioners take over most of the heavy lifting during the process and provide a safer work environment – not to mention reducing worker fatigue to allow for longer and more effective welding production. On average, companies report a significant drop in OSHA-reportable incidents with the use of automated positioners, according to The Fabricator.

The benefits of automated positioners, besides lowering risk of preventable injuries and creating a more comfortable work environment, include:

  • Increased productivity (eliminates time required to manually readjust or reset parts) 
  • Reduced labor costs (entire operation can be handled by one welder at a time) 
  • Increased quality (removes difficult out-of-position welding)
  • More cost-effective (more economical than servo-drive lifts and less maintenance)

A Tool to Combat the Dangers of the Skilled Labor Shortage

With an all-too-real shortage of welders, along with high turnover and low retention, quality automated positioners are an excellent tool to attract (and keep) high-skilled labor. 

To entice competent welders and retain top talent, employers will need to consider additional incentives that take the health and well-being of their employees into consideration. By providing a welding environment that takes into account the welder’s comfort and safety is a great way to make them feel valued, appreciated and empowered to do their jobs more effectively. 

Since there are several different types of automated positioners, depending on the axes configuration or desire to include advanced pre-programed positions and software, you should work with a knowledgeable provider of automated welding equipment who can recommend the best solution for your specific process. 

Lincoln Electric Provides a Better Way to Weld

Lincoln Electric has lived up to its reputation as a leader in automated welding equipment with the Power Lift Positioner™ to help minimize error and maximize safety. Together with the Smart Positioning and Weld Sequencing software, welding operators can synchronize positioning, standardize procedures and verify welding performance with key features including: 

  • Integrated laser alignment and leveling
  • Clean, concealed cable management
  • Logging and verification of welding steps with real-time feedback

The Power Lift removes the perils of welding on large parts (with maximum loads of 25,000 pounds) and optimizes arc time with the added ease of operation, maintenance and installation. The result will be safer – and happier – employees that provides a better product because of a more precise operation. 

For more information on how the Power Lift can transform your welding environment, read our white paper, watch our video or feel free to reach out to a Lincoln Electric representative.

Two words nobody wants to hear at a manufacturing facility: Operator error. However, in the world of industrial manufacturing – including automotive, heavy-duty trucks, construction, agriculture and military – innocent human mistakes cause massive problems...

  • Integrated rotary encoder for programming and tracking weldment rotation
  • High-quality linear rails and bearings for precise vertical travel
  • Industrial-grade, variable speed hydraulic valves

According to the 2019 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, serious, non-fatal injuries cost the manufacturing industry $146.54 million every week.

That survey also noted that overexertion involving outside sources – injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing – caused 23.20% of the injuries and cost manufacturers $1.77 billion in total workers compensation. 

These incidents can happen in several workplaces, but operations that involve welding and the fabrication of large metal products, such as heavy-duty truck cabs, can be even more susceptible to these types of accidents.