Every guy who's spent a decent amount of time in the garage knows that you don't take shortcuts with two things: the quality of your customization, and your personal safety when getting up and running with welding. The last thing you want is a hot spark or a glob of molten metal to ruin your day and make your wife or girlfriend say, "I told you so." We'll take a quick look at what you need to stay safe and out of the emergency room while welding in the shop or garage.

It's really easy to become a victim of your own laziness during a quick tack weld, or go without proper protection because it's hot in the shop. Did you know the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claims that every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces, and of that, mechanics (experienced and novice alike) share in the majority of risk? For metal fabricators, eye protection is just a start.

Proper Setup
Ensure your welder is on a flat surface away from any water or flammable materials, including paper, cloth rags, oil, and gasoline. Avoid working in wet conditions since water conducts electricity.

Verify proper grounding. A metal-on-metal connection is best unimpeded by paint or other foreign material. Never use chains, wire rope, etc., as grounding connectors.

When using gas cylinders, chain them securely to a stationary, upright support or cart at all times. When moving or storing a cylinder, fasten the threaded protector cap to the top of the cylinder. Only use gas hoses designed for welding.

Keep your work area free from clutter. This promotes safety and helps increase efficiency by making necessary equipment and tools easy to find. Cables and hoses can create a trip hazard. Organize the workspace to minimize the number of cables underfoot. Coil up excess hose when finished to prevent kinks and tangles.