The Side Effects of Welding Galvanized Steel

Welding is one of the most lucrative jobs all over the world. But some types of welding may be harmful to your body if you do not take necessary precautions. Many welders have to go through welding galvanized steel in their career.

Welding galvanized steel is known to cause metal fume fever/galvanize poisoning. When the welders get too exposed to zinc oxide, galvanized poisoning may surface. The extreme heat from welding galvanized steel may form zinc oxide.

Remove Any Flammable Materials or Objects

What is Galvanized Steel?

 The Galvanized Steel is iron coated with zinc. The iron is put into a zinc coating where the zinc has a chemical reaction with the metal base. The outer layer contains the pure zinc alloy. The inner layer, on the other hand, relies on pure iron.

The layers in between comprise part of zinc and iron base metal. The zinc oxide can be found in Galvanized Steel. It can be seen in the various percentage of iron and zinc. The white powder used by lifeguards to avoid sunburn contains zinc oxide.

It does not matter if you are new to Galvanized Steel welding or old, proper precautions must be taken. Taking necessary safety measures can reduce exposure to zinc oxide fumes by a high margin.

At the time of preparing the base metal, try to remove as much zinc from the metal surface as you can. Galvanizing often displays a yellow-green smoke, white residue on the weld and white powdery particles in the air. Check out this video to understand more about Galvanized Steel welding:

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If you ever find yourself in the middle of giant yellowish-green fumes, you might be a victim of Galvanize poisoning. Too much exposure to zinc oxide in the fumes may cause the poisoning. The more you are exposed to these fumes the more severe the galvanize poisoning will become. You should take necessary precautions before exposing to zinc oxide mixed fumes.

Symptoms of flu are similar to the symptoms of galvanize poisoning.  Soon after being overly exposed to zinc oxide the patient’s body starts to show the signs. It begins with a mild headache and nausea. In severe cases where people get too exposed to zinc oxide may result in all kinds of symptoms, similar to the flu. Moderate exposure will cause shaking, chills, cold sweats, fever, and vomiting.

welding spark

As a welder, if you experience any of these symptoms, you need to give it a break and get some fresh air right then. If the exposure crosses the limit, it may cause death. If you experience symptoms worse than the ones mentioned above, you should immediately seek medical attention.

Galvanize poisoning is something that lasts for a short period. The early symptoms start showing by hours of being exposed. These symptoms should disappear within 24 hours. If you have been exposed for a longer period od time, it may take 48 hours. Drinking milk is advised to hasten the healing process. The calcium in the milk helps to remove the zinc from your body.

Safety Precautions

Some safety precautions need to be taken into consideration to prevent overexposure to galvanize fumes/zinc oxides. Some of the precautions contain efficient ventilation and to avoid direct contact with galvanizing fumes.

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It is recommended by experienced welders to drink a cup of milk right before and after welding galvanized steel. It will allow you to reduce chances of galvanizing positioning. It is also advised to wear welding hood before working in these jobs.

Make Sure You Have Cleaned Everything

A few essential precautionary measures are listed below when welding galvanized steel:

  • Ensure proper ventilation in the workplace where welding operations on Galvanized Steel will take place. The local exhaust system is known to work best regarding reducing risks of galvanizing positioning. It is highly advised to refrain from re-circulating the air in the shop.
  • If the workplace can to install/maintain proper local ventilation system, it is highly recommended to wear industrial grade respirator. It should be placed underneath the welding helmet. Having the respirator will ensure zero exposure to zinc oxide mixed fumes, thus protecting your lungs.
  • Your welding shield should be dust proof. If you find white dust inside the shield, then you should upgrade your welding shield.
  • Use soap and water to wash off your hand after welding Galvanized Steel.
  • Refrain from eating and drinking in zinc oxide exposed areas.
  • Report to your supervisor immediately after experiencing symptoms of galvanize poisoning. It is highly advised to drink lots of water and ensure bedrest.


Proper precautionary steps will not only keep you safe from zinc oxide contamination but also your family members. Zinc oxide exposed clothes may harm your family’s safety as well.

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