Hot air welders are used in many plastic fabrication facilities to adhere one piece of plastic to another. Burns are the most common type of injury that people sustain as a result of using this equipment; this is because a hot air welder needs to produce a lot of heat in order to join the plastic components together. Here are some precautions that should be taken to prevent burns when using this equipment in a plastic processing facility.
Be cautious about handling the metal funnel after the equipment has been used
Hot air welders usually have a long metal funnel through which the hot air flows and is emitted. When the equipment is being used to join bits of plastic together, this metal component can become incredibly hot. As such, if the operator touches this component with their bare hand, they could sustain a serious second- or third-degree burn. This could happen even after the equipment has been switched off for several minutes, as metal components can retain heat for quite a long time.
Given the risks associated with handling this part of the hot air welder, it is crucial for the operator (or anyone who needs to carry out repairs or maintenance work on the equipment) to approach this part of the welder with caution. Ideally, they should wait for at least an hour or so after it was last used before touching it to allow it to cool down. If they need to handle it before this period, they should wear heat-resistant gloves that will not melt or allow heat to penetrate their fabric when they come into contact with an extremely hot object.
Be careful about which surfaces handheld hot air welders are left on
When a handheld hot air welder is being used, the operator may need to periodically lay the equipment on a nearby surface whilst they smooth out or readjust the position of the plastic components they are joining together. It is extremely important for them to be careful about where they choose to place the equipment.
The reason for this is that a hot air welder could also inflict burns on employees indirectly, by causing a fire that injuries these people. For example, if the hot air welder is placed on its side on a table that is positioned near a machine that produces sparks, or close to an area where other employees take smoking breaks, the hot air it emits could cause a fire when it comes into contact with these sources of ignition. Similarly, if it is left on a table that is covered in papers, the heat of the metal funnel could cause these papers to catch fire.
As such, those operating the hot air welders should place this equipment on a surface that does not feature any flammable goods and should ensure that it is not pointed in the direction of any sources of ignition.