Welding Safety

Obviously welding can be a dangerous thing to do if you take no safety precautions. The risk of injury from not using the proper safety equipment includes, damage to eyes from arc flash, damage to skin from arc uv rays and from burns to any unprotected areas due to high temperatures. Lung damage from inadequate ventiliation or not using a fume extractor in confined areas causing inhaling welding fumes. However putting in the right welding safety precautions to start with makes any form of welding a safe and enjoyable occupation. Here we outline the essential welding safety gear and likely risks welding can give.

Eye Protection.

Protective welding helmetWithout a good quality welding helmet you will destroy your eyesight very quickly. Modern welding helmets with auto darkening lenses have greatly improved the likely-hood of arc flash and allows the welding operator to see exactly where the weld is to be started.

Of course auto darkening welding helmets vary in quality. Although when using auto darken helmets the transition to darkening after striking a weld is virtually instant, there is a time delay that is not noticed. Poorer quality weld helmets are slower to initiate the darkening process even though it may seem instant. We are only talking micro seconds here but can be enough to eventually effect eyesight. Always buy the best welding safety gear you can afford.

Safety glasses should also be worn under your weld helmet, sparks can enter the helmet, bounce around and penetrate the eye. If you’ve ever had a spark in the eye you will know that the removal and healing process is no fun.

Welding gloves.

For heavy welding long leather welding gloves are essential and again should be of high quality. Tig welding requires the use of a smaller shorter glove but something that is more ply-able. Tig gloves are available is soft cow-hide that are ideal.

Welders Jackets

Welding jackets an be obtained in full cow hide leather either long or in a jacket style. While they can be cumbersome and hot in warm weather they wll protect from burns and sparks without doubt. Not so essential for any light down-hand welding but for heavy work, vertical and over head welding a welding jacket is a must.

Other welding safety geay available to the welding profession are leather welding aprons, skull caps and leather boot guards. All offer all round protection from welding sparks, molten metal blobs, arc welding slag and grinding sparks and should be worn on a daily basis.

Welding boots.

Typically welding boots are leather and will have a steel toe-cap. Modern safety boots have a composite material that has similar strength as steel but will be much lighter, insulating and not magnetic. Soles are protected by APT textile plates (Anti Perforation Textile) that gives great flexibility as well as warmth and lightness. look for boots that have soles capable of withstanding 300 degrees C.

Also use leather laces and ideally use leather trousers or heavy denim that will cover the top of your work boots, if youve ever had a weld droplet enter your boot you will soon learn that there is nothing you can do but let the burn happen, you simply cannot get your boot off in time.