I started a job on Friday Nov 11 at a machine shop. I don't know exactly what it is they manufacture but the end product a bunch of solid pipes from what I've seen. Never been employed in this field of work before.
I'm loving the job so far, it's tough but it's ideal for me. I don't have to interact with customers or really report to anyone, I just do my thing until the work day is over. The only glaring issue I have at the moment is the severe lack of safety measures in place. Don't get me wrong, virtually 100% of my work is automated one way or another, I just assemble bits and pieces of the final product and the machines do the rest. Sometimes loading the machines with pipes so they can be processed, and so on. The mechanical dangers are well out of the way for now and the only way I could **** up is if I purposely went out of my way to get in the way of the machines. Of course since I just started the owner does not want me doing anything too grandiose so it seems too easy/ideal for now. I will elaborate below.
On my first day I came quite unprepared as I didn't know what to expect. No safety glasses, no earplugs nor work boots. Didn't bother the owner one bit and he didn't go out of his way to help me out. I finished the day without any protective wear. I don't expect to be babied at the job but at the very least I'd have thought this would concern the owner at least a little, with exception of the work boots as those cost a pretty penny and I wouldn't expect him to have any to spare. Today (Monday): I brought everything I lacked on Friday from home. The day started ok, then my second concern really came up. I spent the entire day at a robotic welder, and boy was there a lot of smoke. The issue was that the owner of the place didn't have any real measures in place to deal with the fumes nor had he advised me to bring anything. The only thing he had on site was a dust mask, specifically stating on the package that it was not rated for toxic fumes or gases. I wore it simply because it was better than nothing, but I could tell it was definitely not meant to be used in my scenario. THE WELDING IS A KEY PART OF THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURING PROCESS AND I EXPECT IT WILL PROBABLY BE USED EVERY DAY.
Obviously I do not want repeated exposure to this stuff, especially for the entire work day. I should mention the owner is quite old, probably in his late 50s and I wouldn't be surprised if he is using me for cheap labor. He came off quite pleasant but from my experience that sort of warmness is quite common amongst employers who trap you in poor working conditions.
Now the question: Should I keep this job and take my own initiative in observing safety measures in the conditions I'm presented, or is this just going to get worse and worse? I don't "need" need the money as I am still living with my parents. Mind you they don't buy anything for me, just the bare minimum of food and having a roof over my head which I am greatful for, but I do have to start earning for a few things I have in mind if I want to begin my process of moving out. My goal at the moment is to earn enough for a decent used car to increase my employability and go from there. It would make me sad to quit so early a field I am enjoying but either way, my priorities are always my health above all else.
PROS (subjective of course)
No "helicopter" supervision (amazing)
No contact with customers/public
Only one co-worker who I get on with quite well
Job isn't too physically demanding, some necessary lifting of course but it's a cakewalk compared to when I worked as a furniture mover.
Owner is aging and may be complacent in really adhering to proper working conditions in a factory type of environment.
He might see me as a cheap and disposable source of labor.
Expecting to be welding every day, or be in the presence of the byproducts a welding robot if someone else is operating it.
Ventilation is in place but it does not seem too effective. There's a garage door in the back of the shop but it remained closed for the entire work day as the shop gradually filled up with smoke.
I do not know what type of weld this robot uses, nor do I know the makeup of the metal items that are being welded together. my limited knowledge in this field has only taught me that there is MIG/TIG welding and that they operate at different heat specifications and frequencies.
The company is quite small, just the owner of the shop and two employees including myself.
Thank you if you've read all of this. I hope to find some wisdom out there from you guys.
PS: In the meantime I will go to my local hardware store and purchase a respirator for tomorrow. I don't know which brands to look for really so I hope to pick a decent one at least. I'll be glad to hear any recommendations!