Welding - Ergonomics

On this page

What are ergonomic risk factors associated with welding?

Back to top
  • Lifting heavy loads (cylinders, cables, etc.).
  • Awkward body postures (outreached arms, awkward position of neck and head, kneeling/squatting).
  • Static body positioning (long duration of tasks, manual precision).
  • Continuous force (grip strength).

What are some tips for a good working posture while welding?

Back to top
  • Learn to recognize symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs; also called repetitive strain injuries or RSIs). Repeated uncomfortable postures and tasks can cause injury.
  • Avoid awkward body positions which cause fatigue, reduce concentration and lead to poor welds which may need to be repeated.
  • Always use your hand to lower your helmet. Do not use a "jerking" motion of your neck and head.
  • Position yourself in a stable, comfortable posture.
  • Position the welding item as flat as possible, on a horizontal surface, between waist and elbow height.
  • Position stool or scaffolding at a comfortable height to allow working in a seated position.
  • Avoid working in one position for long periods of time.
  • Work with material slightly below elbow level when working in a sitting position.
  • Work with material between waist and elbow heights for comfort and precision when working in a standing position.
  • Use a foot rest if standing for long periods.
  • Always store materials and tools within normal reach.
  • Use positioning aids to accommodate work posture.
Use positioning aids to accommodate work posture.

What is an example of a standing workbench design?

Back to top
Standing workbench design

What is an example of a seated workbench design?

Back to top
Seated Workbench Designs

Source: Golavatjuk creation of optimum labour conditions for electric welders with regard to ergonomic requirements. IIW Calloquium on Welding and Health, Lisboa (1980)

What should I know before lifting cylinders manually?

Back to top
  • Find out the weight of an object before attempting to lift it.
  • DO NOT lift full or partially full cylinders on your own.
  • Use a lifting aid if the object is heavy.
  • Use a trolley or a mechanical lift to lift or move compressed gas cylinders.
  • Get help with heavy or awkward loads if a lifting aid is not available.
  • Do a few warm up stretches before lifting.
  • Protect hands and feet in case the load falls.
  • Place forward foot around the cylinder if it must be lifted manually.
  • Lower the cylinder across thigh by pressing down with rear hand while holding cylinder underneath and slightly beyond center point.
  • Raise end to desired height.
  • Push cylinder forward by rear hand.
Lifting cylinders manually

What should I know when moving cylinders?

Back to top
  • Make sure the cylinder cap is secured.
  • Tilt the cylinder slightly on its edge and roll it slowly in the direction desired. Move short distances only.
  • Use a cylinder trolley for longer distances.
  • Place one hand on top of the cap and the other hand on the shoulder of the cylinder.
  • Always chain the cylinder to the trolley.

What should I know about lighting and colour?

Back to top


  • Ensure general lighting is adequate to allow safe access and handling of equipment.
  • Use additional task lighting for precision work.
  • Avoid excessive glare from light sources or reflections.
  • Prevent excessive contrast between the workpiece and background.


  • Select matte finishes for welding area to avoid reflection of welding arc light, and to obtain a satisfactory level of lighting.
  • Choose any colour except blue or turquoise; they reflect UV light.
  • Reduce distraction by making piping, ducting or structural supports the same colour as the background, unless piping requires a second colour coding.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2017-09-12