Reasons to Protect Yourself While Using Welding Tools

Posted by Tim White

Knowing what can go wrong while using welding tools is key to protecting yourself. Risks consist of electric shock, breathing in toxic gasses, injury to the eyes and skin burns.

Electric shock is one of the greatest risks concerning welders. They work in an environment filled with metal objects which have voltage between each other (around 20V to 100V). Getting electrocuted can lead to injuries and even death. Remember to keep dry clothes and gloves when doing electrical welding.

The toxic gases that can affect the welder depend on the metal and rod that are been used. This can be prevented by using a ventilation system to filtrate the air around the welding zone.
If it’s uncomfortable to breathe, you should check your current ventilation system.

Fires and fire-related injuries are quite frequent in welding. Parts of molten metal can easily drip and start a fire. Before you do any welding, make sure to clear your work area of any wood, material or anything easily flammable.

Luckily there is a branch in clothing called personal protective equipment (PPE). It includes items such as safety helmets, eye protection, gloves, earmuffs etc. It is the employers duty to supply such protection for their staff.

Welding Tools

Welders Helmet and Goggles

When dealing with welding tools, it is very important to protect your eyes because if you’re not wearing the proper PPE equipment it can lead to blindness. The best thing to wear while using welding tools is a combination of a helmet and PPE glasses, just for an added layer of protection.

Welding helmets are face masks made of pressed metal. They are usually black so that they don’t reflect light. The helmet is easily adjustable to fit any head size with a rubber band located on the top inner side. When the helmet is not in use, it can be swung up, thus exposing the face of the welder. The upside to using a face mask helmet is the ability to be able to use both your hands, as opposed to the hand-held shield.

The welders helmet shields the eyes and face from ‘arc eyes’ and ‘retina burns’, both very painful side effects from arc welding. But the helmet protects more than just the eyes, it also protects the skin from burns, bright light and UV radiation.

Safety glasses should be worn under the helmet since there is a small is a small possibility for arcs to get inside the helmet. It is also highly recommended for anyone around the welder to also wear at least safety goggles with side guards.

It’s wise to use proper equipment, for example wearing oxy-fuel goggles won’t help in arc welding because they don’t protect from UV radiation.
Welding lenses are made with multiple layers of shade. The users visibility is decreased depending on the intensity of the shade. Ex: Shade 2= 20% , Shade 14= 0.0003% .

Clothing

Personnel working with any type of dangerous work should be equipped with PPE.

Welding requires its own code of protective clothing and accessories for complete safety.

The priority when working with electric arc welding is to wear clothes with no gaps and keeping your clothes and gloves dry.

Workers are advised to wear wool clothing, since wool is hard to burn or damage.

Apart from the woolen clothes, PPE jackets and aprons made from leather or other fireproof material should be a top choice as well.

Also, it is advised that you put your pants over your boots, instead of tucking them in, because little sparks can get inside your boots and burn you.

Gloves

You can use welding gloves specially designed from different types of leathers, including cow hide, pig hide and goat skin (these particular skins are used because they offer the most protecting while still keeping sensitivity in the touch). When buying gloves for welding look for something that has a lot of mobility and wrist control.

Shoes

There is a big variety of protective shoes to pick from against hazards such as electricity, fire, cutting, slipping. When it comes to welding the best boot to pick is anything that’s fireproof .I’d recommend combat boots. But if you want an added layer of protection you can always get leather welding spats that go over the boots. The spats can prevent sparks getting inside your boots and your laces catching on fire.

Earplugs

The human ear can only withstand 85 decibels, therefore welders need noise protection. Although helmets muzzle the sound, that alone is not enough – for complete protection, you can put earplugs inside your ears, or the alternative is earmuffs.

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