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Welding - Ergonomics

What are ergonomic risk factors associated with welding?

  • 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?

  • 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?

Standing workbench design

What is an example of a seated workbench design?

Seated Workbench Designs

Source: Golavatjuk et.al. 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?

  • 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?

  • 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?


  • 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.

Document last updated on September 12, 2017

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.