Reducing Hazards in Welding Activities Using Automated Orbital Welding

Welder faces hazards in welding activities

Industries that depend on manual work often face health and safety risks. Welders, particularly, are at high risk due to the nature of their work. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) acknowledges the inherent hazards in welding activities—like exposure to heat and harmful fumes—and provides mitigation guidelines for manufacturers. In addition to the risks outlined by OSHA, welders also face cramped conditions that pose ergonomic challenges.

Risk mitigation has proven a driving force in the advancement of new welding technologies. By employing automated and remote welding technologies instead of manual welding, manufacturers have reduced the human health hazards associated with the welding process.

Hazards Associated With Welding Activities

Most welding activities utilize a gas or electrically generated arc that can be the source of radiation and emissions harmful to welders. 

Exposure to Fumes

During metal fusion, a mixture of gases and fine particles create toxic fume emissions. Fume toxicity depends on the composition of the welded metal.

  • Welding metals like mild steel create common fumes that contain manganese, silicon, and iron oxides. Stainless steel can produce potentially toxic fumes due to the presence of chromium.
  • Welding metals with coating may generate toxic fumes containing lead or chromium. Removing the weld area coating before welding can help minimize fume toxicity.
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and gas metal arc welding (GMAW) processes emit UV radiation as well as harmful ozone and nitrogen oxides.

These fumes are heavily concentrated near the point of the weld. The longer the welder remains close the weld point, the greater the chance of inhaling harmful fumes. An automated welding process can reduce health risks by allowing welders to monitor the welding process remotely.

Exposure to Radiation

Arc welding emits radiation at wavelengths ranging from 200 to 1400 nm (0.2 to 1.4 µm). This range includes ultraviolet radiation (200 to 400 nm), which can cause serious health risks to the operators. Operators can protect themselves from harmful radiation by using the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Automated welding can also assist in eliminating exposure to harmful radiation.

Safety Hazards

Welding activities involve constant exposure to gases, heat, and electricity. As a result, welders face an inherent risk of fire, fumes, and electric shock. For fire prevention, OSHA recommends the removal of combustible material from the work space before commencing any kind of hot work. Onsite hazard assessment also helps manufacturers determine the potential chemical and physical hazards at the welding facility.

OSHA has provided mandatory guidelines and industry requirements for the use of protective equipment and additional methods to protect the health of welders.

These health and safety requirements can alternatively be fulfilled by automating the welding process.

Automated Orbital Welding Reduces Risks

Orbital welding systems have been trusted by industries and machine shops to improve weld quality and productivity through automated processes. The same automated welding system also enables manufacturers to reduce welding hazards.

AMI’s weld heads allow welders to monitor the welding process from outside the hazard zone and prevent direct exposure to fumes and harmful radiation. Collaboration between arc welding monitoring system and remote weld pendants lets operators monitor the welding process remotely. By using a keypad, the operator can update parameters and perform process adjustments at a safe distance.

The automated welding system allows industries to provide welders with a safe, comfortable, and healthy space to work. Operators trained to use automated welding systems can effectively minimize the potential hazards in welding activities.


Arc Machines, Inc. is a leader in automated welding technology with decades of experience and expertise. With solutions like AMI orbital weld heads and remote weld pendants, we help integrate automated welding systems while protecting operators from hazards in welding activities. Contact AMI to learn more, or contact to learn more about AMI orbital weld heads and power supplies.