Why Underwater Welding Is a Dangerous Job

Underwater welding often shows up on lists of the most dangerous jobs. Unlike other jobs on those lists, underwater welders face many kinds of danger all at once, and they face them nearly every day. Read on to learn why underwater welding is such a dangerous job.

What Is Underwater Welding?

Underwater welding, or offshore welding, typically takes place on offshore oil rigs. During the course of a shift, underwater welders can expect to dive below the waves to make repairs on the rig, often in dark, icy cold waters.

Cold Water Temperatures

The first major danger to offshore welders is that offshore welders often dive into freezing waters. Welders must wear appropriate diving suits with thermal insulation to stay warm.

Electrical Shocks

The most significant reason why underwater welding is such a dangerous job is electrocution. If you think about it, it’s not hard to see why. Electricity powers welding equipment, and water contains ions and impurities that are excellent conductors. Underwater welding is a recipe for danger.

Drowning Dangers

Drowning is a real danger for anyone working around water. Underwater welders depend on their scuba gear to provide oxygen while working. If something goes wrong with their equipment, they could drown.

Water Pressure

Oil rigs are very tall structures that reach down to the ocean floor. Many underwater welders must do their jobs hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, and that level of water pressure can cause problems. Over time, diving welders can experience damage to their ears, nose, and lungs. They can also get decompression sickness from moving between different water pressures.

Marine Wildlife

Next to the dangers of electrocution and drowning, marine wildlife may not sound like that big of a problem, but it can be. Sharks, jellyfish, and orca whales can all injure and kill welders under the right circumstances. Welders must constantly be aware of their surroundings, especially in the dark waters of the ocean.

High Danger Equals High Pay

Even though underwater welding is dangerous, some people enjoy the job. One reason is that underwater welding is one of the highest-paying welding jobs. If you don’t mind the risks, you can make a good living as an offshore welder.

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