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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.  

 

How to Choose the right Welding Jacket

welding jacket

How to Choose the right Welding Jacket

welding jacket

Choosing the right welding jacket is a skill you must have as a welder. Your work ranges from high end heavy industrial welding down to simple lightweight metal fabrication. With that comes different types of welding jackets to choose from. Here we give you a complete guide on how to choose the right welding jacket specifically for your job.

For whatever work you do, you need to have the right welding clothing and protective equipment. It’s not an option, it’s a need.

welding jacket

What are welding jackets used for?

Welding jackets are designed to give full protection from the neck down to the waist and also to the shoulder down to the arms against burns from heat, sparks, and weld splatter. It also protects your skin from the intense UV and IR radiation from a welding arc which increases the risk of skin cancer.  While welding jackets are primarily for welding, of course, it can also be used when oxy-fuel cutting or heavy grinding.

Choosing the right welding jacket for the job

What is the best type of welding jacket?

The primary features of a welding jacket are pretty basic. It needs to be durable, fire-resistant, can provide thermal insulation, electrical resistance, and heat protection. Most importantly, it needs to be made out of high-quality materials and is comfortable and easy to use.  The quality of materials used for a welding jacket directly impacts the durability and price of a welding jacket. So if you go for a cheap one, you get less durability and quality. While there are different types of welding jackets, some are better than others and it depends on the quality of the material and the kind of job you do.

Types of Welding Jackets

Welding jackets are classified according to materials used in their manufacturing. There are cotton welding jackets, leather welding jackets, and nylon/kevlar welding jackets. Take a look at how they’re different and get to know which one fits the kinds of job you do.

Cotton welding jacket

If you work in warmer climates or you want a welding jacket for summer, and you perform medium or light work, the cotton welding jacket is best for you. Cotton itself is flammable but these are altered chemically to make it fire-resistant. These are lightweight, flexible, and breathable and are the most affordable type of welding jacket in the market.

Leather welding jacket

Leather welding jackets are for those who work in cooler climates and engage in heavy-weight welding work like high-end MIG and TIG welding. Leather is the most durable material when it comes to welding jackets and is best known for its properties like thermal resistance and fire resistance. This immediately makes it the top choice welders who do heavy welding work. Leather welding jackets can either be top grain and split grain which have different tanning and cutting methods. Whichever you choose, you are sure to be free from skin irritations.

welding jacket

The best type of leather used in manufacturing welding jackets is cowhide. It is durable and strong and won’t crack easily like other leather types yet breathable and flexible. It is resistant to heat and punctures and moisture. This makes cowhide leather welding jackets a top choice.

welding jacket

Nylon/Kevlar welding jacket

Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is lightweight, stretchable yet strong. Kevlar is a heat-resistant strong synthetic fiber. The combination of both produces fine material that primarily prevents skin burns. It is suitable for all industrial and heavy-duty welding work as it is breathable and highly flexible making it a good choice for those who also work in warmer climates.

What is the best size for a welding jacket?

Choosing the right size for a welding jacket is essential. If you pick the wrong one, you end up feeling uncomfortable which would affect work performance. Before you go ahead and choose a size, make sure to measure the size of your chest by wrapping a measuring tape around the upper body. If your belly area is considerably bigger, then measure the stomach area.  It is important you don’t wrap the measuring tape too tight to your body. A little allowance is always better. A tip would be to take the measurement while you wear your regular work clothes.

Which is more important, welding jacket material or convenience and comfort?

While some would prefer welding jacket material over convenience and comfort, the fact of the matter is safety comes first. So, in choosing, you should go with the one that you’re comfortable with so you avoid the risk of danger. There are some manufacturers who give a balance to high-quality material and comfort in welding jackets and it is up to you to find one that fits your need and your want.  Welders around the world need maximum protection from head to toe since they work in a high-risk environment. Underestimating what welding jackets can do by wearing the wrong one can expose welders to unwanted injuries or accidents. So whether it’s welding, oxy-fuel cutting, or heavy grinding, it’s a must to choose the right welding jacket specific for your job.

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Welding Clothing And Protective Equipment

welding clothing

Welding Clothing And Protective Equipment

welding clothing

If you have decided to try your hand at welding, that’s great! Many people think that welding is dangerous and dirty work, but it can be very fulfilling and satisfying. If you’ve been doing it for years, it always pays to go back to the basics of welding protection like welding clothing and protective gear. Before you get your hands dirty, it’s important you know that welding safety and comfort comes first.

Welding protective clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protect you from the hazards you face when working. Here we give you the welding clothing and welding protective equipment you need to help you give optimum performance at work while staying safe and comfortable.

Welding Clothing and Protective Equipment

Welding Clothing

Welding Aprons

Now that you have your face, neck, lungs, and hearing protected. You now get welding protection for the front of the body which includes your torso and upper legs. This also gives protection for your clothes as well. Choosing the right welding apron is needed for a specific use. No one wants to end up having burns on the skin or holes on your shirt after you work. 

Welding Sleeves

Welding Sleeves give protection to parts of the front body that welding aprons do not cover. Your arms are very much exposed and need protection as well. To get the best protection, you can opt to choose leather welding sleeves would give the best protection. 

welding sleeves
Welding Gloves

Welding Gloves are a must. This gives protection to the hands up to the mid wrist area which is primarily what you use to handle dangerous equipment. This also gives protection against heat. 

Welding Jackets

Welding Jackets are designed to give full protection from the neck down to the waist and also to the shoulder down to the arms. Welding jackets can be made out of leather or flame-retardant cotton.

welding jacket
Welding Chaps

These are also called leg aprons and can run until the knees or the ankles. These are considered more useful than welding aprons because it’s attached to the leg itself. If your work needs a lot of movement, welding chaps are a better choice. 

Welding Leggings

Nobody likes spat burns. Welding leggings provide protection for the shin, ankles, and feet. These are sheath type shin pads that can be made out of reflective aluminum to flame-resistant leather as well. What you want are leggings that have a plate of metal on the shins for maximum protection. This also acts as a shield against sparks and splatter falling into the shoes so as not to burn the laces. 

Welding Coveralls

Coveralls are common for those who work in shops or garages. These loose fit jumpsuits provide protection from the lower neck down to the ankles including the arms and sleeves. The downside is that it doesn’t offer that much protection from high temperatures not unless they are designed for that specifically. The ideal way to use welding coveralls is to use it with the other welding protective clothing like the apron and chaps. 

Welding Safety Boots

A welder would sometimes choose to wear their ordinary shoes but for those who are serious in their welding career should definitely have a pair of safety boots. These boots are designed to protect your feet from heat exposure and welding splatter. Most importantly, these safety boots have steel toes that protect your feet from heavy pieces. Its soles are also usually anti-slip and anti-static.   

Welding Protective Equipment

Welding Blanket

A welding blanket isn’t something you use on your body but it does give protection for your body and the material and equipment around against sparks and splatter. Welding blankets are excellent shields against heat and fire and there are ways to know how to choose the right one. 

welding blanket
Welding Helmet

Protecting your face and neck is the most important protective equipment you should have. Without it, you expose the most vulnerable parts of your face to sparks and radiation harmful to the skin and eyes. If you’re a pro or a beginner welder, auto-darkening welding helmets are best to use so you don’t flip them up and down which can minimize fatigue in the neck. 

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses are also a must most especially when grinding and cutting. While it is never worn while welding, it’s a very important protective gear that you should consider as part of your must-haves. Your eyesight is the most important tool in what you do so you can never have too much protection.

blue weld
Welding Respirators

Melting metal means the emission of fumes. Welding respirators are used in small spaces where these fumes become irritating and harmful to the lungs. And while these are not used that much since they can be quite expensive, it’s always good to have around.

Ear Muffs/Earplugs

Welding processes are naturally loud. Hearing protection is essential for welders so having the right ear muffs or even earplugs to cancel the noise while you work is a priority.  These welding clothing and welding protective equipment are the basic needs for a welder to stay safe and comfortable while at work. Whether you’re just starting out or you have been working as a professional welder for years now, welding protection must and should be the first thing on your mind even before you handle that welding machine. So now, go get the welding PPE and welding clothing you’ve had your eye on and get to work!

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