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A Day in the life of a Pipeline Welder

Welder working conditions are tough. Its hard to know where you will be working because as probably guessed, pipes don’t move. This means we have to travel to where the pipes are. Whether it’s in Alaskan ice, desert heat or underground, pipes need repairing. Oli and gas companies contact pipeline welders, then they travel to the pipeline. Where ever there are pipelines – oil industry, natural gas, water or sewers – there’s a need for pipeline welding.


Pipeline welding is the least predictable welding career as most pipeline welders go from one site to the next. Travelling is a big past of pipeline welding, meaning the job could be hours away from where you are based. Work hours may run overtime due to this, so if travelling isn’t appealing to you this may not be the best career in welding.

Many of pipeline welding jobs involve studying the pipeline or the specification, and figuring out the dimensions needed for the weld, whilst using the arc welders or other equipment’s to do so.

Working Conditions

Pipeline welders in any company or branch are at a high risk of injury and illness at all times. For example, the intense light from arc welders and other equipment’s can damage eyesight. Welding tools also generate tremendous amounts of heat, as well as inhaling gases or particles during the welding process. There are many ways which risks can be reduced. Some safety procedures include:

  • Wearing equipment such as lenses and heat resistant gloves
  • Fire resistant clothing
  • Helmets with side shields
  • Respirators

Pipeline welding takes working conditions one step further than other welding careers. Some pipeline jobs are at extreme temperatures including deserts. This heat combined with generated heat from a weld can be very challenging. A common site for a pipeline welder is also a sewer. In order to do this job, you must control your gag reflex and avoid contaminating yourself. The most extreme environment is an underwater pipeline. Special equipment means welders can go underwater to do what needs to be done, this is an immense amount of pressure on a welder. Between bubbles and dim light, its difficult to see what you’re doing.

Becoming a Pipeline Welder

Pipeline welding revolves around arc welds, these are extremely difficult and require lots of training. Welders typically start as apprentices or helpers to an established welder who can them teach them the ropes.

Few people are interested in pipeline welder. The requirements are difficult and the conditions are extreme, but the money for this career defiantly shows a reflection of the work. If pipeline welding didn’t interest you further down the line, certifications and skills can transfer to other welding careers, so you aren’t tied down to one job.

Find out more about Pipeline Welding here: