Welding Safety Equipment: The Ultimate Guide

Welding involves a lot of successive heating and cooling the materials in order to get the materials joined. This fabrication process often eliminated a large amount of heat in the form of fumes, which can be harmful to the human body. Other toxic chemicals or substances like molten metals, scathing infrared and ultraviolet are also emitted which harm the welders in multiple ways. Welding safety equipment is crucial to stay safe during the welding process.

The sparks and other radiation that a welder is exposed to often causes irreversible damages too. The skin and eyes are in the frontlines which are likely to get affected first.

Therefore, it is recommended that the welders take necessary precautions before delving into such sculpting works. The PPE or personal protective equipment plays an integral role in providing the necessary safety to the persons directly involved in the welding of materials. Helmets, gloves, face covers are some of the common welding safety equipment that should be the prime concern before going to work.

Why is safety necessary during welding?

Using protective gears while welding is necessary to protect the welders from getting damaged in any way. The inherent dangers that are associated with welding can be minimized significantly with the help of precautionary measures.

Welding has to be carried out in high temperatures along with electrical current which is why it is necessary to take safety measures before working. Moreover, the damages caused can sometimes take a long time to recover, thereby causing mulitple discrepancies with both the employer and also the welder. On the one hand, the flow of work in disrupted, and on the other hand, the welder is denied of the remuneration, in worst cases.

Most often people are not aware of the technicalities involved in welding and consequently fall prey to situations where they are likely to cause harm to themselves. As a safety measure, wearing the welding safety gear will save the welders from getting directly exposed to the high temperatures or electric currents.

On another instance, employers can also conduct proper training sessions before indulging the personnel into work. This will give them an insight as well as a hands-on experience of what welding is likely to be. Also, taking proper precautions on a regular basis and also preparing for emergency situations is also necessary, for which welders should be trained beforehand. This will not only save them for getting harmed but also keep up with the flow of work.

How to ensure the safety of welders at work?

The proper use of personal protective gears can be trained to the worker in order to ensure their personal as well as overall safety in the work environment. The fumes and slag that is released during the process are often toxic and if inhaled, can cause huge damage to the internal parts of the human body.

Besides, the heat can cause burns and the substances present in the smoke can lead to eye damage and other prominent hazards. To make sure that these are reduced, here are a few tips that can be implemented using welding safety equipment

How to ensure safety of welders at work?

Follow the instruction

The operating manual provided to a welder contains all the essential information pertaining to the functioning of the machines as well as the list of precautions that he is supposed to practise regularly. Therefore, it should be ensured that every welder follows the instructions and they are familiar with every nook and corner of the machines and also the working surroundings. 

Otherwise, if the manual is not available, the same can be distributed online which can be downloaded and printed by the welders before they start to work. Besides, a supervisor can be employed to look after a fixed number of subordinates with their welding safety equipment and help them in case of difficulties.

Breathe without suppressing

Breathing is an industrial area is troublesome, considering the fact that it is filled with multiple gaseous substances and fumes. Therefore, air quality should be improved for the workers, as the adverse effects of the toxic surrounding can lead to kidney damage, lung cancer, heart disease, neurological troubles, stomach disease, etc.

To improve the work environment, welders should be given with respiratory devices as welding safety gear, that will help them in breathing effortlessly.  This improvement can solve a lot of problems relating to reducing health problems and also retaining the flow of work.

Put on the protective gears

The welding safety equipment is multifaceted and welders should ensure they are fully covered during work. Proper safety covering include gloves, helmets, and other necessary coverings of the entire body of the welder. Also, short-sleeved shirts or half pants are to be strictly prohibited.

Any part of the body that is not covered and exposed to the intense heat is prone to damages. The heat may cause painful burns and there are chances of electric shock as well. Also, one should not carry nay inflammable items such as matchboxes or butane lighters in their pockets while working.

All of the above is especially true for beginners who are just starting out. The beginners are usually using entry-level welders for beginners. They are not yet proficient with welding, thus protection is the most important thing before beginning.

All these features will help in protecting the welders from probable damage and help them continue with their work. Training them with necessary instructions will aid in preparing them for emergency situations too. They can help others also and reduce the incidents of accidents and injuries greatly.

What are the types of welding safety equipment available?

It should be noted that welding safety equipment is specific to specific parts of the body. Each part should be covered appropriately to ensure it is not exposed to the intense heat or electric currents.

Therefore, for easier understanding, the equipment is discussed below by categorising each for specific body parts. Read to find out.

Welding helmet

1. Head

It is the most vulnerable part of the body that is directly involved in welding activities. To keep it protected, welding helmets can be a saviour, specifically the auto-darkening ones. They have inbuilt sensors and can darken themselves during welding works.

Besides, they are battery-powered by solar energy, thereby saving a huge cost of operating them and also making them convenient to use. These helmets can save from getting burns and other injuries due to molten metals or electric sparks.

Welding glasses

2. Eyes

The next welding safety gear is meant for the eyes, which are again one of the most vulnerable body parts, and there might be even loss of vision, if not properly protected. Glasses are the most common shielding items in protecting the eyes, however, they are not powerful enough at all times. Since they do not fit under the mask, it is advisable to wear the glasses only on certain occasions when the welder is not wearing a helmet.

It is useful only in case of using a respirator, as it does not interfere with the overall setting of the equipment. Besides, there are hand hed face masks, that can be held in one hand and welding is done using the other hand.

Welding gloves

3. Hands

To protect the hands that are directly involved in the welding of materials, welding gloves are an essential welding safety gear. These should be comfortable and resistant to flame besides having multiple insulating layers.

There are gloves with silicon patches too that provide additional protection to the hands of the welders from extensive heat and flames. Welders need to find the right size of the gloves for themselves, which will keep the gloves in the proper place while wearing and lower the chances of coming off the hand.

Welding fire resistant jacket

4. Chest

For protection to the chest, welding jackets are an essential welding safety equipment. One has to wear it while doing the welding and eliminate the excessive heat from reaching to the body directly. Even these jackets are flame-resistant and need to be worn close to the body.

Both cotton and leather jackets are available, and one should the jacket which is applicable to his work environment. They are extremely resilient to heat and durable in nature to offer complete protection form hazards. One can wear aprons too, which are quite effective in providing protection from heat and shocks.

Welding sleeves

5. Arms

There are welding sleeves that can protect the arms from welding heat. These sleeves are a significant welding safety equipment that covers the entire arm from the wrist to the shoulders and can be clipped to the apron for a better grip. Also, one can attach the gloves to fit in the sleeves for complete protection.

Though there are other sleeves which have in-built gloves, these sleeves are a useful kit during emergencies and urgent work. Usually, light welding tasks can be carried out using sleeves, but they are not recommended for heavy-duty welding activities.

Welding knee pads

6. Knees

Another set of welding safety gear is for the knees, which are called welding kneepads. Knee trouble is a common phenomenon in the industry, and therefore, these pads are the right choice when it comes to providing comfort to the knees from long-hours of resting on them. It will provide protection against kneeling on concrete and rough rock surfaces.

The kneepads are worn around the knee so as to retain the flexibility of bending and alongside providing the necessary cushioning around the area. The cushion is generally made of plastic or leather to provide comfort and also make it durable for prolonged usage.

7. Feet and legs

The welding safety equipment for legs and feet include boots and welding chaps. Both these are worn to protect the portion under the waist. While the boots are worn only on the feet, chaps come into two forms – one being an overall coat with a bib attached to it, and the other one is only a pant.

The welding chaps are made up of cotton, plastic or leather, however, they provide enough space for breathing comfortably. The overall head to toe chap is likely to be more convenient than having to wear a separate pant and an apron on top along with sleeves or gloves.

Welding respirator

8. Breathing

The next welding safety gear is meant for providing a safer breathing environment. For this reason, most heavy-duty industries have respirators for the welders. The metals get heated and release toxic fumes and gases, which are then inhaled by the workers. This leads to multiple health problems such as lung diseases, heart malfunctioning, asthma, hearing loss, and several others.

Therefore, respirators can help a great deal in helping the welders to breathe in comfortably. Proper filters and an adequate amount of air supply should be ensured in the respirators to enable appropriate breathing.

Besides all the above-mentioned protective aspects, the surrounding is a crucial factor and one needs to have the right welding safety equipment to make sure they can work well. There are multiple factors that need to be taken care of, come of which are:

Ventilation

The area should be properly ventilated to offer proper passage of air and gases released as a result of welding metals.

Cleanliness

Ensure the working place is clean and does not have any leakage of any molten metal or any other similar discrepancies.

Fire protection

Keep fire extinguishers, water or sand at bay to fight unwanted situation of fire in the industry due to sparks.

Storage

Make sure materials are stored in the right place and away from risks of inflammation or spillage.

Grounding

Grounding equipment should be placed rightfully to avoid the occurrence of electric shocks.

Altogether, the safety gears are meant to ensure a healthy working environment for the welders as well as the entire industry. Personal and overall protection is extremely important to minimise the chances of injuries and accidents which might disrupt the workflow greatly.

How to benefit from welding protective gears?

Along with protection from the health hazards and other potential damages, practising these welding safety gear will be benefitted in the following ways too  –

Welding safety equipment benefits

Legally provisioned

It is the legal act that grants necessary information to the workers in order to ensure their safety at all time during the working hours. Based on the workers’ act, every worker has the right to avail and be aware of the instructions, training, and guidance in terms of handling the machinery and equipment in the industry.

Healthy and safety are two essential parameters that should be taken care of. They should also know how to use the safety equipment on a regular basis. Further, knowing how to use the same will aid in helping the other workers too at times of emergencies as well.

Therefore, the use of protective gears in welding also makes an industry be legally authorised of conducting the act properly.

Cost-effective option

The inculcation of necessary welding safety equipment minimizes the health hazards and incidents of injuries and accidents to a large extent. As a result, the expenses or the compensation that the industry has to bear in such cases in usually expensive.

Besides, it also leads to a massive disruption in the workflow as other workers also get indirectly affected due to the incident. Consequently, the productivity of the industry falls and simultaneously there is a fall in revenue too.

On the other hand, investing in protective equipment is a one-time investment and requires comparatively lower expenditure than compensating for health injuries.

Minimize potential health problems

As already mentioned, investing in welding safety gear can diminish the cause and occurrence of health problems largely. The chances of being engrossed by longterm diseases can be reduced remarkably.

The safety measures are not only meant to protect the workers themselves but also ensure the safety of other working with them. Altogether, the safety of workers will them result in cumulative safety of the industry.

This, in turn, will increase the efficiency of the welders, as a result of which the revenue generated from the production will also increase. More workers will be willing to work in the industry due to the presence of such safety and precautionary measures.

Retains the workflow

One of the prominent advantages of ensuring the availability of welding safety equipment is the continuity of workflow. With an unwanted situation in the workplace, it is often observed that the entire set of resources go through the turmoil either directly or mentally.

The welding industry is prone to using heavy-duty materials and pieces of machinery, which is why the associated risk while working with those is also higher. As a result, the chances of mishaps are also greater if the workers are not aware of the adequate instructions and safety measures.

This is the reason, why welding safety gear is a blessing for such high-end industry workers. The safety gears are not only durable and made for prolonged use, but they are also meant for providing overall protection to them.

Above all, purchasing protective equipment is a well thought out investment, as it shows that the industry values its employees. This, in turn, leads to instilling a sense of responsibility and obliged to the industry from the perception of the employees.

The bond between the industry and its employees grows stronger by enforcing the protection laws. Not only does this increase the productivity of the industry, but also helps in saving expenses related to unwanted mishaps.

Sources

  1. “Welding” – Wikipedia
  2. “Welding Knowledge base” – Weldability Sif
  3. “Safety Matters – Health & Safety Community” – aisolutions.co.uk
  4. “Top 4 Welding Safety Hazards” – Safety Culture
  5. “Welding safety” – ISHN

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