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Benefits of Cotton While Welding

welding jacket, welding apron

Since welding involves using heat to bond various metals together, it is important that you wear welding clothes material that is specific for the job, specifically welding PPE and other safety gear at all times. This entails dressing in attire that is advised for usage when working in a hot environment.

 

Natural fibers, of which cotton is formed entirely of, are recommended for welding since they are less combustible and easier to put out than synthetic fibers.

 

Clothing made of cotton that has been chemically treated to make it flame-resistant (FR) also provides reasonably priced defense against flames, sparks, and molten splash. 

 

Let’s take a look at the benefits of cotton while welding.

 

Benefits of Cotton for Welding

1.) Cotton fabrics are resistant to fire. Cotton burns more slowly than synthetic materials, therefore if your cotton shirt catches fire, you can put it out quickly with your glove.

 

2.) Cotton is good for welding protection- In applications with moderate sparks and spatter, a FR cotton jacket can provide a good balance of protection and comfort.

 

3.) Cotton is comfortable – Flame resistant cotton is popular because it is reasonably priced, lightweight, and breathable, allowing you to stay cool and comfortable while welding.

 

4.) Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic. Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic. Welding requires working with heat, which causes sweating. This sweat causes irritation and discomfort because it can cause rashes and skin allergies.

 

Therefore, wearing cotton clothes will keep the body free of rashes and allergies as it lets your skin breathe.

 

5.) Cotton requires little care. A lot of sparks are produced during welding, which can damage a lot of your clothing.

 

It’s a good thing cotton isn’t expensive, because replacing it won’t break the bank. However, make sure to protect your skin from burns.

 

6.) Cotton is a flexible fabric that can be used to create a variety of garments, including flame-resistant gloves, jackets, pants, and shirts for welders.

FR welding shirt

FAQs

Why shouldn’t you wear nylon and polyester-based synthetic textiles while welding?

Polyester and nylon are not flame resistant, and instead of catching fire, they dissolve and pull away from the flame.

 

And when these materials catch fire, they burn less quickly than cotton and have a tendency to melt, which hurts your skin more.

Is Cotton really safe to use when welding?

 

FR cotton garments are considered safe for welding because they are breathable and do not easily catch fire. They’re also lightweight and comfortable, which is useful when welding, which is a physically demanding job.

 

Keeping all of this in mind, we should also keep in mind that, while cotton clothing is considered safe, it still is not as safe as leather, which is more sturdy and durable.

 

Welding in Summer: How to Avoid the Risks

a welder working in the summer

Welding in itself is already a challenge. Welding in extreme weather conditions adds to that challenge. And if you’re welding in summer, there are some risks and you need to avoid them and take extra precautions. Here we talk about the risks and how you, as a welder, could avoid them. 

 

Welding in the Summer: The Risks

According to CDC, 285 construction workers died from heat-related causes between 1992 and 2016, more than a third of all U.S. occupational deaths from heat exposure. While many of the risks of welding in hot weather are universal to all jobs, some are specific to welding.

 

Sweat

The first is sweat. Even if it isn’t summer, sweating is normal while on the job. You are dealing with molten steel after all. But during summer, the amount of sweat you produce doubles and that poses a threat. Sweat can drip into your eyes and it can affect your performance. It can also affect your ability to grip objects. The biggest threat, though, is electrocution. If your clothes or welding gloves get saturated with sweat, a single touch can shock you. 

 

pipeline welder working

Heat Stroke/Heat Exhaustion

The most serious heat-related sickness is heat stroke. It happens when the body loses the ability to regulate its temperature, causing the body’s temperature to increase quickly, the sweating system to malfunction, and the body to be unable to cool down. Within 10 to 15 minutes after the onset of heat stroke, the body temperature can reach 106°F or more.

 

Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, is when the body reacts to an excessive loss of water and salt because of excessive sweating. This then produces heat exhaustion. 

 

It’s normal for you to do work with fire and heat. But if you have the heat of the sun competing with that, working becomes more difficult. You lose energy easily and you get disoriented. You start to get blurry vision and you experience shortness of breath. The worst thing that can happen is you pass out while on the job and that is never good. 

 

Distractions

If you feel hot, you get distracted. You lose concentration because of discomfort. Sweat dripping from a welder’s face can easily distract one from the welding job at hand. Getting distracted at any point while working can pose a threat not just to the welder himself/herself, but to other people around as well. 

 

What can welders do to avoid the risks?

There are a few things a welder can do in order to avoid the risks of welding in the summer. 

 

Drink a lot of water. Stay hydrated. 

When dealing with heat, staying hydrated is always key. A welder battles the sun in addition to having white-hot flame inches from his body. Everything is fighting against him and it sucks the water from the body. Don’t rely on any one symptom to determine when to stop and get some water because heat exhaustion can happen even if you aren’t sweating. Recognize your boundaries and lean on the side of caution – drink a lot of water.

 

Use Sweat Absorption Clothing

 

Wearing the appropriate summer welding clothing is very important. You need lightweight, light-colored, and flame-retardant welding clothing that protects you and helps you keep cool while at work. This would reduce the risks of sweating and heat stroke. 

 

welder at work

Use Cooling Bands

Welders frequently use cooling bands to prevent heat fatigue. Use lightweight commercial cooling bands and cooling belts to direct cool air to the head and core to keep the body cool. Many of these devices are designed specifically for the welding profession, which means that they offer priceless heat protection without restricting the welder’s range of motion or ability to do the task safely.

 

These are just some of the things that you can do as a welder to avoid the risks while welding in the summer. So, the next time you start work, remember to always bring a water bottle with you and take a break to stay hydrated. 

Welding PPE: 7 Key Areas Needed for Safety

welder at work

While robotic welding has made significant advances in modern technology, robots cannot do everything, so steps must be taken to protect welders and help eliminate the risks they will face throughout their workday. When a hazard cannot be simply eliminated, the safety professionals at OSEA advise removing it through engineering controls. Welding PPE or Personal protective equipment is considered a last resort in areas where this is not possible, but it is critical for protecting employees from exposure and injury caused by known risks. 

 

Welding PPE: 7 Areas Needed for Safety

Employees performing welding and employees exposed to welding hazards will need a variety of PPE to eliminate the numerous risks that they face on a daily basis. Here are 7 key areas of welding PPE that are needed for the safety of welders.

 

Eye and Face Protection

A welder’s eyes and face must be shielded from sparks, UV radiation, hot metal, and flying objects. A welding helmet, welding beanie, face shield, safety glasses and/or safety goggles, may all be required to protect a welder’s eyes throughout the day. Employee eye and face protection should meet ANSI Z87.1-1989 standards, and head protection should meet ANSI Z89.1-1986 standards.

 

welder working

Hand Protection

Hand protection is most likely the most widely used PPE. Throughout the day, a welder deals with sharp objects, flying sparks, and heat. To work comfortably all day, a welder will need a variety of gloves. Welding gloves, cut-resistant gloves, hand shields, and leather gloves all provide different levels of protection against various hazards. 

 

There are specific ANSI standards for gloves, such as ANSI/ISEA 105 on cut resistance and Arc Flash protection, so glove selection must be based on the glove’s performance characteristics in relation to the tasks being performed. The SDS will list the appropriate protection for chemical exposures.

 

Skin Protection

Skin protection is also recommended. Welders’ clothing should be made of densely woven cotton or wool, preferably treated with flame-retardant coatings. Acetate, polyester or acrylic clothing (or combinations of these) should not be worn. These are flammable and will melt onto the skin while burning.

 

Foot Protection

Falling objects, flying sparks, and hot slag must all be avoided by a welder’s feet. The best protection will be provided by closed-toed, leather, high-top shoes. Welding spats and other heat-resistant foot/leg covers can help to protect your feet and legs. Foot protection standards ANSI Z41.1-1991 or ASTM F2413-05 must be met by safety shoes.

 

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is commonly required to reduce exposure to welding-related noise hazards. A hearing conservation program must be implemented if employees are exposed to noise hazards that exceed 85 dBA (decibels measured on the A scale of a sound level meter). There is a wide range of earplugs and earmuffs available to provide comfortable hearing protection. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 requires that a hearing conservation program is in place.

 

welder

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is needed to protect employees from toxic gases, fumes, and/or dust. To quantify the exposure level, air quality testing for the welder’s breathing zone is required. Local exhaust systems, mechanical ventilation, and fume hoods, among other engineering controls, should be used as much as possible to eliminate the risk of exposure. Employers must ensure that their employees are not exposed to toxic fumes, gases, or dust in concentrations that exceed the maximum allowable concentrations specified in 29 CFR 1910.1000. (Toxic and Hazardous Substances). 

 

The method of protection chosen is determined by the type of exposure and the level of protection required to achieve a safe, breathable environment. Any business that requires its employees to wear respirators.

 

Individual Booths

The welder should be enclosed in a separate booth. The booth should be made of noncombustible UV-rated screens or curtains. Curtains, booths, and screens should allow for air circulation at the floor level. Workers or other people near welding areas may require UV protective screens or shields, or they may be required to wear appropriate goggles/safety glasses. Welding in the facility may also necessitate a “Hot Work” permit as a fire prevention measure.

Welding Clothing Tips: How to Minimize Stains on Welding Clothes While at Work

a welder working

Yes, staying clean while welding is impossible. Welders like you have the job in mind and keeping your clothes clean isn’t something you really think about. Your focus stays on welding and staying safe. But, if you don’t want to have to deal with having to wash away too much stains from your work clothes, here are some welding clothing tips. 

 

Welding Clothing Tips: Minimize Stains on Welding Clothes

 

Oil is your number one enemy when it comes to stains. That and of course dirt and dust. Whether you’re working in a workshop or a factory, there’s grease and dust all around and it could be hard to really avoid it. What can you do to minimize the stains on your work clothes?

 

Do not touch welding clothes as much

 

It does sound basic but if you make yourself aware and practice it for some time, it becomes a habit. Next thing you know, you find less amount of stains on your work clothes because of this habit. So, the next time you work, be more aware of the many times you touch your welding pants or welding shirt. 

 

welder working in a workshop

Keep a rag/handkerchief in your pocket all the time

 

Make sure that you have a rag or handkerchief in your pocket all the time. Never leave your home without it. Or better yet, have a several in your workshop or workplace so you won’t have a problem having one whenever you work.  That way, before you touch any of your work clothes or any item at all, you make it a habit to wipe your hands with that rag. 

 

Starch your welding clothes 

 

The starching process of welding clothing has been around for a long time and it’s done by both professional and amateur welders. This is done to prolong the usability of welding clothes by preventing dirt and dust from accumulating on the clothing. It also makes a piece of garment oil resistant. This then prevents too much stains on the work clothes making it easier to wash them. 

 

Just remember you can only start 100% denim or cotton welding clothing. 

 

two welders working
Photo via unsplash.com

Get Coveralls, Have Work Clothes that are meant for just working

 

If you really want to minimize the stains you get on your welding clothing while at work, get coveralls and use that over your welding clothing. They last long and you won’t have to worry as much. Also, apart from your leather welding clothing or welding jackets, only use work clothes that are meant for just working. Meaning if you use them and they get stained, you wouldn’t mind as much. 

 

As a welder, dealing with stains, dust, and dirt is something you need to live with. It is impossible to be super clean at the end of the day. But if there are ways for you to minimize the stains you need to deal with, then why not? So, the next time you weld, keep these things in mind and save yourself the headache of having to deal with too much stubborn stains on your welding clothing.  

How to Wash FR Clothing

welder working wearing FR clothing

As welders, Flame-Retardant FR clothing is a standard PPE. Every layer of welding protection is a must since fire and heat is a thing we deal with on a daily basis. By this time, you may already have invested in FR welding jackets, FR welding shirts, or FR welding pants. With daily use, they may now have seen a bit of wear and tear. The question is, have you been washing them the right way? Remember, for FR clothing to work properly, they need to be well maintained. Here’s how to properly wash FR clothing. 

 

Before we move on, you should know the difference between flame retardant welding clothing and flame resistant welding clothing. Flame retardant clothing only has a coat of fire-resistant material while fire-resistant clothing is literally made of resistant material. Whichever type you have, you could use this process for proper upkeep. 

 

welder working wearing FR clothing

How to Wash FR Clothing

Wash FR clothing separately in a Cotton or Normal cycle at any water temperature (maximum of 140ºF or 60ºC) and tumble dry on low. Use a liquid detergent and make sure you turn the FR clothing inside out before you wash to reduce streaking from abrasion. Also, make sure that all soils or stains are removed from the garments before the wash process. 

 

Here are the things that you need to take note of in washing FR clothing:

  • Do not use soap (tallow soap with animal fats) and fabric softeners. These can leave a flammable coating which can be dangerous.
  • Do not use chlorine bleach or liquid non-chlorine bleach. This can reduce the level of flame resistance.
  • Do not use starches, peroxides, or vinegar 
  • Do not use hard water. This can deposit small packets of magnesium and calcium which are flammable.

 

FR clothing usually lasts for 5 years. Some rare FR gear would even last 20 years. Most lose their effectiveness after 25-50 wash cycles. FR clothing have specific laundering instruction and requirements and it’s important you check the label and follow manufacturer recommendations. This will guarantee a longer lifespan. Remember, FR clothing cannot wear out its FR properties easily unless the fabric is mishandled in some way. 

 

welder working wearing FR Clothing

 

Summer Welding Clothing

welding outdoors

Summer is here! That means making sure that you have your summer welding apparel ready. Comfort is a top priority when it comes to welding in the heat. You need the right fabric and the right kind of welding clothing to make sure you get maximum protection while keeping yourself cool at the same time. Here, we give you a list of summer welding clothing that you must have to get the comfort and protection you need in this season. 

 

Summer Welding Clothing

Light Weight Clothing 

With the heat, it will be harder to move because of the discomfort one can feel. Wearing lightweight clothing under welding PPE helps you change that. This also gives you the opportunity to take in cooler air whenever the wind blows while you work. Lightweight khaki pants and khaki shirts are what you should be wearing while welding during this season. 

 

Light-Colored Clothing

In terms of the color of clothing, go with white colors. As known to many, light-colored clothing reflects light while dark-colored clothing absorbs it. White welding shirts and white welding caps are great to have. 

FR welding shirt

Wear a Pancake Hood

A pancake hood is potentially cooler than a shirt hood or a flip hood. Mainly, this is because air can pass through easily to the head as opposed to a hood that hinders or traps the air from getting in. 

 

FR Welding Shirt 

A breathable and lightweight flame retardant welding shirt is definitely a must-have. Working in the summer months doesn’t mean you compromise safety for comfort. With a high-quality FR welding shirt, you get maximum protection while being able to move freely. Get a consistent airflow to keep you cool in the hear while getting protection from sparks. Some even come in khaki color which all the more makes it better.

 

Welding Sleeves

A good pair of welding sleeves are also good to have in the summer months. If you need protection but can’t have a full-on leather welding jacket, leather welding sleeves can give you the protection you need for your arms. It also allows for more movement. 

leather welding sleeves

FR Cotton Welding Jacket

A leather welding jacket is definitely a must-have. But when you talk about working under the heat of the sun during the summer, you need an FR cotton welding jacket instead. It’s flame retardant so you get protection, it’s lightweight as compared to a leather welding jacket which allows a consistent flow of air to circulate and cool your body. 

FR welding jacket with leather sleeves

Hybrid FR Leather Welding Jacket

A hybrid FR leather welding jacket might just be what you need exactly when welding in the summer. You get the protection you need from leather welding sleeves but have the comfort of an FR cotton welding jacket. It’s having two pieces of welding protection in just one piece of clothing. This gives you the mobility you need while getting superior protection for your skin and the comfort of a lightweight cotton fabric that allows a consistent airflow. Perfect for the welder in the summer!

Welding PPE: Head and Hair Protection

welder wearing a welding helmet

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) states that an estimated 500,000 and more employees are at risk for exposure to the physical and chemical hazards of welding, brazing, and cutting. Welding safety begins with understanding what could go wrong and preparing for it if in case it happens. This is why you’d need to incorporate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your whole body in any welding project, beginning with having the right welding equipment for head and hair protection. 

Welding PPE for your Head and Hair

As the gateway to your respiratory health and your body’s command center, your head is the most important part of doing your job. Equipment manufacturers have designed PPE to keep welders safe and make things a lot easier and more comfortable when doing the job. Here are a few must-haves.

welder using welding goggles

Safety Glasses/Goggles

Although some welders don’t wear safety glasses underneath their welding hood, approved eye protection like safety glasses or goggles should be worn at all times and should fit properly. They should also be in good condition. It is recommended that safety glasses/goggles should clearly be ANSI 87.1 compliant made of polycarbonate. Prescription safety glasses with side shields are recommended. 

Welding Cap

A welder’s cap protects the head from slag splatter and hot metal. The best ones to use are cotton welding caps or cotton doo-rags. But, a good alternative to this is a baseball cap made of cotton. If you’d like to use a hat, be sure it’s not made of polyester.  If your hair is long, tie it back and tuck it inside your welding jacket for extra protection. 

a welder with a welding shield

Welding Hoods, Helmets, and Shields 

Welding helmets, leather or cotton welding hoods, and welding shields are used when performing different types of welding jobs to protect the eyes, face, and neck from ultraviolet light, sparks, flash burn, infrared light, and heat. Whatever helmet you choose, it should be lightweight, has a sensor bar, a spatter shield, it has adjustability, and parts for replacement are available. 

Welding PPE Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

The tech used in Auto-Darkening helmets involves electromagnetic detection of the weld. Since magnetic sensors are added to pick up on the magnetic field of the ark, these helmets respond more consistently to protect the welder’s sight. The helmet improves performance when welding on sunny days or in the outdoors. The lens doesn’t darken until an arc is struck, regardless of sunlight. 

Gas Metal-Arc Welding Helmets

Gas metal-arc (MIG) welding requires darker filter lenses because the ultraviolet radiation emitted ranges from 5 to 30 times brighter than welds with covered electrodes. 

welder wearing a welding helmet

Powered Air Purifying Respirators

Since welding produces harmful fumes and gases, it is recommended to wear a filter mask,  a ½ mask respirator, or a powered air-purifying respirator on the job. Aside from removing contaminants, these units help make the environment for welders more comfortable. The flow of air cools the welder’s face. 

 

Other protective equipment for the head includes earplugs for hearing protection and heat stress relief products. Earplugs protect both the welder’s hearing and keep airborne contaminants from entering the ear canal. Heat stress relief products, on the other hand, reduce temperatures under the hood without having to buy a complete respiratory system. 

 

With these technologies in creating PPE, welding can be a lot safer and more comfortable. Most importantly, it prevents welding-related injuries or illnesses. It’s better that welders get the tools they need to make sure they do their jobs every day and that they feel good and safe about doing it.

What Not to Wear When Welding

welding clothing

Although we have a pretty good idea as to what protective equipment welders should have, the better question to ask is, “What shouldn’t welders wear when welding?” 

 

As a welder, you need to be choosy about what you wear when you’re working on welding projects. Your safety is your top priority, so making sure your clothes protect you from UV exposure, burns, and other harmful things is quintessential. 

 

The Worst Material for Welding Clothing

Synthetic materials are the worst type of materials to use for welding clothing. They’re a big issue because they melt under heat and may potentially burn your skin. Synthetic materials like polyester or polyester blend easily and ignite and burn vigorously. Oil, greases, and combustible contaminants are other materials that welding clothing should never get in contact with. In addition, don’t wear rings or other types of jewelry while welding. 

 

welding clothing

What Welders Should Wear Instead

Welders should go for clothing that is heavyweight, tightly woven or made of 100% cotton or wool to protect themselves from UV radiation, open flames, sparks, and hot metal. It is ideal to wear long-sleeved shirts that have buttoned cuffs and preferable a collar for added neck protection. The shirt pockets should be closed to avoid collecting hot metal or sparks. Covering pockets with flaps will also work. As to the color choice, wear dark-colored clothing to prevent light reflection.

 

If you’re wearing pants, be sure that the pant legs do not have cuffs because cuffs can collect sparks. Check all the frayed edges, holes, and tears in clothing – assure they’re all repaired. It’s best to wear gauntlet-type cuff leather sleeves or gloves to protect your forearms and wrists. Leather is a great insulator for electricity. Wear leather aprons, too, so your chest and lap are protected when standing or sitting. 

 

Use high-top boots that are fully laced so you prevent sparks from entering into the boots. Fire-resistant boot spats or protectors strapped around the pant legs and boot tops are highly recommended. 

 

welding clothing

Protection from Welding Radiation

To protect yourself from welding radiation, wear tightly woven fabrics that are a proper weight for work-related jobs. These keep UV radiation from reaching your skin. Your shirt should also be buttoned up to protect your throat and neck. Cover your head with a fabric cap so your scalp is protected from UV radiation. For the back of your head, use a hood. Protect your face by wearing an opaque welder’s helmet. A welder’s face shield is also good to use for protection against flying particles and radiation. Finally, use a shield that can keep sparks spray away from your clothing. 

 

In all things welding, make sure that all fabric is resistant to heat, flame, and spark. The fabric should also be free from combustible materials. You don’t want to have any material on you that could get ignited by a spark.

What You Should Know About Proper Welding Blanket Upkeep

welding blanket upkeep

Having a welding blanket is helpful for workshop safety. Since sparks, spatters, and flying metals tend to fall on you or your surroundings while welding, that protective cover is the very thing you need to safeguard your body. But keeping it in good condition to last for a few more years takes some work.

Waylander Welding Fiberglass Vermiculite Blanket

 

Welding Blanket Upkeep

Washing Your Welding Blanket in a Washing Machine

As a general rule, when you wash your welding blanket in a washing machine, do not mix the welding blanket with other heat-resistant or non-heat-resistant clothing items. Separate the load to prevent chemicals from non-heat-resistant materials that may contaminate your welding blanket. 

 

Next, remember that heat-resistant blankets should be carefully washed with specific detergents that won’t ruin the blanket’s protective layer. The detergent should be bleach-free since bleach can tarnish the blanket’s integrity. If you are using a home laundry detergent, check the label. Just be sure it doesn’t contain any chlorine or bleach. Some examples of bleach-free detergent are Neutral ph-balanced formula, USDA Certified Bio-based product, and Fragrance-free formula.

 

Also, don’t use fabric softeners and soaps since these can destroy the structure of the welding blanket’s protective layer. These chemicals leave a flammable coating behind. 

 

When it comes to water temperature, the best temperature for washing welding blankets is 104ºF (40ºC) and less. Avoid using the hottest temperature on your washing machine. When in doubt, always check the label on the welding blanket for the preferred temperature.

 

Finally, don’t let the welding blanket soak too long in the washing machine. If you do, detergent and water can damage the blanket’s protective layer. You can also wash your welding blanket by hand. Simply dampen it to get it cleaned. Do not soak it. 

welding blanket
Waylander Welding Carbon Felt Blanket

 

Washing Leather Welding Blankets

If your welding blanket is made of leather, use saddle soap for cleaning. Saddle soap leaves no residue and has a neutral ph-balanced formula. It is also fragrance-free. 

 

To begin cleaning, take a clean damp cloth and clean the surface of the leather. Rub the fabric across the leather blanket’s surface to remove some debris and dust. After that, take a second clean cloth and apply a small amount of saddle soap. Rub that cloth gently in a clockwise motion across the surface of the leather blanket until it disappears from the leather. Once the surface is covered, take the third cloth and use this to remove saddle soap excess. 

 

Removing Stains from Your Welding Blanket

Once you see a stain, clean it at once. Common stains on welding blankets include paints, solvents, oils, and other flammable substances. Because if you don’t, these stains can reduce the blanket’s heat protection. 

 

To remove stains begin with filling your sink with hot water, then wet the welding blanket. Rub dish detergent or liquid laundry detergent on the stained spot. Let that detergent rest on the blanket for about 3 to 5 minutes. After that, rinse the detergent off and check if the stains are clean. If the stain is still there, take it to a professional cleaning service. 

3 Powerful Tips for Welding Safety

welding safety
  • Wear Welding Clothing and Protective Equipment
  • Hierarchy of Controls, Safety Pyramid for welders
  • Avoid the Top 4 Common Welding Safety hazards

Welding is very much a challenging yet rewarding job. It’s a craft that has been there since the Bronze age some 2000 years B.C. and will continue to be a growing field in the years to come. In fact, the U.S. will need some 372,664 welding professionals by 2026 so starting a career in welding is actually always a great idea. While welding is indeed a great career, it also comes with risks and that’s why here, we give you 3 powerful tips for welding safety. Whether you’ve been in the field for several years now or just new to the craft, these tips might just save your life. 

There isn’t any other way to stress how important safety is when it comes to welding. One can never be too careful. But just to state some facts, Liggett Law Groups states that 500,000 welders are injured in accidents per year. This number can be very concerning but just proves that safety is always a top priority in the field and that accidents can happen anytime. 

3 Power Tips for Welding Safety that can Save Your Life

Wear Welding Clothing and Protective Equipment

Welding Clothing and Protective Equipment were made for a crucial part of welding safety. Being a welder means being exposed to hazards like fumes and gases, extreme heat, electric shock, and fire and explosion. Not only that, materials and energy released in welding can cause serious burns, blindness, and respiratory damage in some cases. 

A welder must always dress for the occasion whatever the job is. This means a welder should always come to work with a welding helmet, welding gloves, welding jackets, welding boots, and respirators. For a list of protective clothing and equipment, read our blog on “Welding Clothing and Protective Equipment.” To get to know more about welding leathers for maximum protection read, “Leather Welding Clothing and Accessories every Welder Must Have.”

welding safety

Take note of the Safety Pyramid for welders, Hierarchy of Controls

There is a Safety Pyramid welders should be familiar with. If this is your first time hearing or reading about, then make sure you remember this. NIOSH has this pyramid called the Hierarchy of Controls which has a list all welders should know to minimize danger when welding or doing any manual work. This is listed in five categories. 

Elimination 

This is basically what it literally means. Elimination means removing any hazard from your workspace as briefly discussed. The important thing is to make it a habit.

Substitution 

Substitution, in this case, would mean to change whatever equipment, tool, or project you have to remove any hazard. For example, using a less reactive material for a certain job. 

Engineering Controls

This means isolating people from hazards. It’s bad enough that you have unwanted objects around. Make sure people are away from your workspace and have a safe distance all the time. 

Administrative Controls

What this means is that one should have a set of rules and should change workflow to improve safety. If a system doesn’t work, it has to change. If the rules aren’t really being followed, there has to be something done about it. 

PPE

As mentioned, Personal Protective equipment is always a must and should never be removed anytime while on the job. 

Avoid the Top 4 Common Welding Safety Hazards

While there is so much to look out for while welding, here are the top 4 common welding safety hazards and how to avoid and control them. 

Fumes and Gases

Overexposure to welding fumes and gases can cause health problems like cancer, respiratory illnesses, and some impaired speech and movement. This can be controlled by working in a place where there is adequate ventilation and exhaust to keep the fumes and gases away from the breathing zone. An approved respirator can also help. 

Physical Hazards

Physical Hazards are always present anytime on the job. These can cause cuts, burns, eye damage, or damage to the toes or fingers. With welding clothing and protective equipment, these can be avoided. 

Electric Shock

As a welder, you are always exposed to electricity and the possibility of electrocution. This can cause not only serious injury but also death. This can be minimized by inspecting your electric holder and welding equipment all the time before starting any job. A lockout and tag out procedure during repairs done by qualified repair technicians can also ensure that nothing malfunctions. 

Fire and Explosion

While electrocution can be a serious hazard, you also deal with fire and explosion. This is due to flammable materials that may be around the working area. This can be prevented by always making sure your workplace is clutter-free and that you make it a habit to remove anything around before you start working. Make sure you have a Class ABC fire extinguisher while welding and that the gauge is full. If there are flammable materials around, use a welding blanket to cover them just to make sure.