Getting a tattoo in general can be a pretty daunting experience in itself. On top of this if you are thinking of getting involved in the welding industry it can be more of an important decision. Whether you already have a tattoo or a piercing or if you are thinking about getting one it is important to know the pros and cons of both in terms of health hazards and career opportunities. Let’s take a look at all the points surrounding this issue.
There is rarely any health hazard with getting a tattoo. Specifically for welding, although the same cannot be said for piercings and wearing jewelry. Any of these can also affect your employment opportunity. Also, make sure to take necessary safety precautions if you do decide to get pierced or wear jewelry while welding.
REASONS WHY TO HAVE A TATTOO
At first, I wanted to put this as a sub-topic below the next one, but then I thought it is important to know the reason why you are planning to get one before tackling the ‘if’.
There can be multiple reasons why someone would decide to get a tattoo. There can be an emotional reason to it or even something as trivial as looking cool. It is no doubt that in recent times tattoos and piercings have become more acceptable in society.
One of the reasons to get a tattoo can be self-expression. Many welders get something they made tattooed on themselves to represent their most important creation or their first creation.
There can also be emotional reasons, some people get names of their loved ones tattooed on themselves. What better way to feel that your loved ones will always be with you.
A very underrated reason for getting a tattoo is to hide your scars or to even make your scars be a part of a larger tattoo.
And at the end of the day, it can be as simple as tattoos looking good on you. None of the above reasons are any lesser than the other and the choice is completely yours. Keep one thing in mind if you are planning to get a tattoo. You have to be completely sure of the idea and the design before getting one. You don’t want to carry something on your body that you might regret later.
CAN WELDERS HAVE TATTOOS?
Now that we have the reasons for getting a tattoo out of the way, we can discuss the implications it can have on your welding.
A lot of people don’t realize the scope that the welding industry can have. You might discover jobs which you didn’t even think could exist. The world, in general, is becoming more accepting of people having tattoos. Many people out there don’t really care if you have tattoos or not.
When it comes to health reasons, I don’t think there is any danger if you do get a tattoo. Some people do warn about the potential scars which you might encounter during regular welding which may ruin the design of your tattoo. But this also depends on the area on which you have a tattoo.
If you have a tattoo on a body part that is mostly covered then you don’t have to worry about the previous point. Sometimes if your hands or face is exposed in the workshop you can get scars along the way which might ruin the tattoo.
Other than this I can’t think of any reason why tattoos would cause any health problems specifically in welding. Of course, you can have the usual issues which you may encounter like with any other job.
ARE TATTOOS CONSIDERED UNPROFESSIONAL BY EMPLOYERS?
As I have mentioned before tattoos have become much more common and acceptable in recent times. But still, you can face some discrimination during the hiring process by some companies. Especially if the people interviewing you or selecting the candidates are of an older generation.
There has been a perception created in the older generation that people who get tattoos have a criminal history. Of course, this perception is changing but you might face worse odds while applying for a job. Keep this in mind if it plays a role in your decision of getting a tattoo.
HOW WELDERS FEEL ABOUT TATTOOS IN GENERAL?
Most of the welders that I have talked to don’t really care if someone has a tattoo or not. They are quite oblivious about it. There might be some old school welders out there who might disapprove of getting a tattoo. I don’t think it matters when they have to judge the skill set of a welder.
CAN YOU WEAR JEWLERY WHILE WELDING?
This is a pretty divided topic among the welding community. Some people claim they have been welding while wearing necklaces and wedding rings for decades and nothing has happened. Others have seen first-hand what type of accidents can occur in the workplace involving jewelry.
I feel if possible you should take off any metal jewelry while you are welding. You are going to be working near electronics and high-temperature environments. There is a high chance that your metal rings might interfere with any of the machines. A lot of companies have strict policies against wearing any rings inside the workplace.
I recently saw a post on a blog detailing their horrific accident with a wedding ring. If you are wearing something that is completely covered under a protective suit then it might still be okay. Remember it only takes one time for you to be unlucky.
I would suggest wearing a ring made out of non-metallic materials like silicon or wood which will be much more safe. If you have to wear a metal ring you can try giving a shot at a more brittle metal which could break more easily in case of an emergency situation.
CAN I HAVE LONG BEARDS, LONG HAIR, etc.?
One particular thing which might seem harmless in real life but it can play an important role is having beards. If you have a normal short beard like a stubble it would not really matter when it comes to welding. On the other hand, if you have a long beard it can be a serious health risk. I think the reasons are obvious here, even if you are wearing a protective helmet, there is a chance that some of the sparks or blobs of metal flying out might get stuck in your beard and as you know hair can be extremely flammable.
Another issue that beards can raise is the problem that they may create with some respirators. I know of some companies and workshops which don’t allow you to work there if you have a lot of facial hair.
When we come to piercings it gets a bit more complicated. Even though both piercings and jewelry are commonly made of metal, the difference here is that piercings are attached to your body. This can lead to some serious injuries in the workplace.
If you have piercings in parts of your body that will usually be covered you don’t have to worry much but still if piercings are in sensitive areas they might cause some problems.
Some of the welding machines can also produce electromagnetic fields which might be dangerous for your piercings. Although the chances of anything happening are low if you take the necessary precautions.
One other factor which, people don’t consider is the perception that employers may have on your piercings if they are visible. Piercings have a stronger stigma when compared to tattoos and although the outlook is changing some employers might have a problem with them.
Some of the workplaces might have a strong code of not alloying piercings inside the workshop due to health hazards.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
As I said before, deciding whether to get a tattoo or a piercing can be a big decision and you want to know everything that it might affect. This is why it is important for you to have no doubts regarding the subject. I will try to address some of the most queries that people have surrounding this topic.
Other than the tattoos being very visible which may or may not affect your job opportunities I don’t think there is any safety concern as long as you wear your protective helmets.
As I stated before, if you are working near machines which produce an electromagnetic field of any kind then your risks increase. Although if you take the necessary precautions than I don’t think it should be much of a problem.
The best-case scenario would be to wear non-metallic jewelry like those made out of wood or silicon. In case it’s not possible, some metals that are brittle in nature will be a better choice here.
To sum it all up, getting tattoos is something you can absolutely do but keep in mind its implications on your employment opportunities. Some employers do not prefer to hire people with tattoos. When it comes to jewelry and piercings the situation gets more serious because of safety concerns. If you are thinking of getting a piercing you should take into account which body part would be a safer bet to get pierced.