Welding is one of the economic activities Ugandans have taken on in order to earn a living in this competitive economy. Although it is from this that some people have managed to achieve lots in life, welding involves various hazards that put one’s health at risk.
Welders who ignore healthy work practices today are putting their long term health in Jeopardy. It turns out that those fumes inhaled through the years may cause serious medical implications. The noises that did not seem loud actually were potentially destroying your ability to hear. The parts that did not seem so heavy may trigger shoulder problems.
Dr. Vincent Karuhanga confirms health risks associated with welding.
“Welding emits a lot of light and this is likely to damage the eyes, unfortunately there and then the person will not know that the eyes are getting damaged until they are damaged beyond repair. Then the sound, that buzzing sound from welding can also damage the ears. Now one of the worst problems are the fumes that come from the welding, these can affect the skin, irritate the lungs, liver ears and once they go into the lungs it means that they arrived to many parts of the body.”
Talking to a number of people in the business I was able to find out that welders are aware of these health hazards and some of them have experienced some of the risks.
Kasumba Bruno is one of the victims. He was injured by some of the machines they use something that took him to hospital for almost four months.
A one Frank equally shares his pain; he explains other ordeals that they experience.
“Our eyes become sick and turn red more so when you engage in this activity for long and the skin turns rough.”
While doing their work, welders can be seen without various equipment like gloves, overalls, and helmets to protect themselves. When I asked them why they do not have them, they argued that these are expensive.
“Equipment is expensive. The helmets cost over two hundred thousand shillings which we cannot affordable given the peanut salaries we get.”
It is documented that many long term health problems associated with the profession are preventable. The good news is that you can reduce these risks significantly by forcing yourself to make a few simple changes to your daily routine. Dr. Karuhanga cautions welders to protect different parts of the body from various dangers.
“They are required to protect their eyes with gurgles to protect their eyes from the lighting and debris. Then they can wear overalls to protect themselves from the fumes and metal pieces that may affect the skin, they need sound barriers too to protect their ears.”