Should You Use an Electric Welder Out in the Rain?

Should You Use an Electric Welder Out in the RainHave you ever felt the tingling sensation when you accidently touch electricity with your sweaty hands?

This is the least you can expect while welding in the rain using an electric welder. The worst of course would be getting an electric shock that could be fatal as well.

Now, the question is can you weld in the rain?

The answer to which is of course YES! You can definitely weld in the rain with certain precautionary measures that provides you insulation from the electricity like rubber outsole boots and safety gloves and dry clothes.

But if you ask me, should you use electric welder in the rain, the answer to this would obviously be…

NO, you should not use an electric welder out in the rain because electricity flows more freely in the presence of moisture and will definitely flow to your body conducting electricity with it which will ultimately lead you to an electric shock! But, if you set up your ground clam closest to the welding area, there will not be much space left for the electricity to travel to your body and it will travel to the ground clamp instead!

But if the distance between the ground clam and the electrode is too far, water can stay in between the two and conduct the electric shock more easily.

Well, this article will explain you the various reasons why you should or should not weld in the rain and also tell you the safest ways to weld in wet conditions in case it becomes inevitable for you.

But, let us first know what OSHA has to say about welding in the rain…

Does OSHA allow using electric welder out in the rain?/Welding in the rain OSHA:

To be very precise, OSHA has not set any standard wherein it is mentioned that you cannot weld in the rain but there is definitely a thing to be considered that is stated in section 5(a)(1) of standard 29 CFR 1926.351, 1926.354 and 1926.406(c):

Under this section OSHA states that the employers have to be provided with a place of employment that is free of any recognized hazards that might lead to physical harm or death of the employees.

And that working with electric equipment while in contact with moisture is considered as a hazard. Therefore, employers should address this risk of electrocution.

OSHA also states certain safety measures while welding in moisture content atmosphere such as wearing of rubber boots and gloves that are going to provide insulation from the electricity. Also, the wok area must be covered in order to prevent the welding equipment from getting wet.

All in all, OSHA does not state that it’s illegal to weld in the rain only if the employers are provided with reasonable protection.

How to safely weld in the rain?/Safety tips for welding in wet conditions

As, you know that it’s not life threatening to weld in the rain if you are equipped with the right precautions, it’s becomes important to know what the safety measures are:

Wear Safety gloves while welding in the rain/wet:

Your hands would be the first one to receive the tingling sensation due to the slightest passing of electricity through the equipment you are holding in any wet condition.

Therefore, your gloves need to have the following features in order to safely allow you to weld in the rain:

      • The gloves should be made of rubber as rubber or any insulating material which is a bad conductor of electricity
      • The gloves should be waterproof so that the electrocuted water does not touch your hands
      • The gloves should be breathable so that your hands do not sweat from inside

Wear EH rated and rubber outsole boots while welding in the rain/wet:

The boots that are EH rated will prevent any electrocution while you are welding in the rain. Also, as rubber is a bad conductor of electricity, the rubber outsole will provide insulation from the electricity while working in wet conditions.

The additional essential features would count for the boots being waterproof and breathable.

Wear PPE uniform that dry fast and are waterproof while welding in the rain/wet:

Besides safety boots and safety gloves, the other thing that needs to be taken care of is your uniform which has to be in a dry condition in order to allow you to work with electricity in the rain.

The PPE uniform is waterproof and fast drying which assures you to be safe with electricity in the rain.

Which weld procedure is safe to perform in wet conditions?

If in case you really want to weld in the rain, let me tell you which weld procedure is safe for you:

The oxy-acetylene gas welder is the one you should be using while welding in the wet conditions. This is because oxy-acetylene gas welder is the only machine that does not use electricity in its working!

This machine is made with a combination of oxygen and acetylene in a handy torch that operates without the aid of electricity.

It produces a temperature of 3200 degree Celsius that is effective enough to weld nicely even when the moisture content in the atmosphere is high.

Can a welding machine get wet?

Obviously, if you place the welding machine in the rain, it will collect water on its surfaces and that can account for greater risk of electric shock.

Sometimes, water might sip inside the machine and reach the parts that are supposed to generate the electricity and only trigger the risks of the entire machine being electrified that might result in sparks from the machine while you switch it on and that might just trigger the risk of being receiving a fatal shock!

Can you weld on wet metals?

Yes, you can of course weld on wet metals with stick and flux core once the arc is struck.

But MIG and TIG are recommended to be avoided while the metal is wet, because that might just lead to the deposition of contaminants while the welding is carried out, ultimately resulting in a bad welding.

That’s a wrap for today!

In a nut shell we can consider that welding in the rain is not prohibited by OSHA and that if you really need to weld in the wet conditions then you need to take all the precautionary measures during the welding.

And why would you actually want to weld in the rain? Even if the weld machine does not end up in getting an electric shock, the inclement weather might play its role on you and catch you up in physical injuries and bad health!

Therefore, my last suggestion would be to wait until the rain stops, or find a shelter nearby where you can carry on with your welding safely.

That’s all for this article guys!

See us on our next article for more tips on any welding related queries!

Till then take are and have a safe welding!

Steve Goodman
Experienced welder with 7+ years of expertise in all the latest welding techniques MIG, flux and stick welding, drill press, crane operation and metal fabrication. Welding certificate course graduate and 2018 Excellence in Welding award winner.

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