The cutting-edge equipment and machinery available nowadays have made welding seem like a pretty straightforward process of joining metal pieces together. However, this simple process involves the use of various energy sources, such as electric arcs, lasers, molten metal baths and gas flames which can pose life-threatening safety hazards on the job.
Electrocution, burns, inhalation of toxic fumes, exposure to UV radiation, vision and hearing damage—welders face real day-to-day dangers and risks in their work environment. So how can we prevent welding hazards? Although you can’t completely eliminate the hazards that arise from the welding activity itself and those related to the work environment, such as carrying out work at height or in a confined space, welding PPE can make your job, hobby, or side hustle a much safer undertaking.
Automatic Welding Helmet for Eye and Skin Protection
Life’s too precious to weld with an outdated helmet. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced welder or just starting out; buying a modern high-tech automatic welding helmet is a smart investment towards protecting your noggin from harmful sparks and ultraviolet or infrared rays.
Why an auto-welding helmet, you ask? Because these technologically advanced models offer unmatched protection and functionality, allowing you to weld with greater precision and efficiency while minimising the risks.
An automatic darkening welding helmet incorporates an adjustable lens that darkens or lightens depending on the light around it. Thanks to this practical feature, you don’t have to lift the hood to see what you’re doing. The sensors adjust the lens so you can line up correctly and achieve the perfect welds without the risk of getting blinded.
If you’re thinking that an auto helmet will cost you a small fortune—good news ahead. This may have been true in the past, but auto-darkening hoods have become more affordable through the years. You can now choose from a variety of entry-level yet high-quality helmets offering reliable protection without depleting your budget.
One of the budget-friendly options comes from UWELD, a trusted name in the welding and cutting industry for more than 20 years. The brand’s 2-sensor auto-darkening hood is suitable for MIG, TIG and MMA welding, providing great versatility and dependable protection for everyday use. With a 1-10000 sec reaction time, this helmet adjusts to the light faster than the blink of an eye.
Of course, if you’re after state-of-the-art technology, you’ll probably need to cash out a few hundred or more. Luckily, some vendors offer flexible payment options to make the latest high-performance helmets more accessible to everyone.
In this range, you’ll find some of the most innovative designs currently available on the market, such as the world’s first curved auto-darkening filter by 3M. The G5-02 curved welding hood provides an extended field of view and enhanced clarity, allowing you to take better control over your arc.
Respirator to Filter Out Harmful Particles and Fumes
Respiratory protection is paramount in conditions where there’s insufficient ventilation or risk of oxygen deficiency. Metal fumes are a dangerous by-product of the welding process, and long-term exposure can lead to chronic lung diseases and cancer. That’s why you need to select and use adequate respirator masks that filter out hazardous fumes and particles.
When shopping for a face respirator, you need to know the type of hazard you’re dealing with, so you can make an appropriate choice. Generally speaking, there are two main categories, including disposable and reusable respirators to suit different needs and environments.
Ear Muffs and Plugs to Dampen Hearing-Damaging Noise
In-ear and over-ear protection is also needed for the prevention of hearing loss caused by welding and related activities such as grinding. You can wear disposable or reusable ear plugs for protection against noise, but if there’s a risk of sparks or splatter entering the ear, fire-resistant ear muffs are a better option.
Gloves to Protect Your Hands Without Minimising Dexterity
Welding-specific safety gloves protect against electrical shock, burns and cuts while providing an improved grip. When choosing your gloves, you need to select the right model for the type of welding you’re planning to do to ensure safety, efficacy and comfort.
For instance, reliable heat protection is important in TIG welding. But so is your ability to manipulate the torch and filler. That’s why you need to choose lightweight and flexible gloves that allow high dexterity levels. Beware though, this type of glove will often offer some heat protection, but it isn’t direct-touch heat resistant, meaning it isn’t suitable for MIG and stick welding.
Boots to Prevent Cuts, Burns and Slips
Safety footwear also plays a critical role in protecting your feet from various safety hazards on the job. Cuts, punctures, burns, sprains and falls are the most common welding-related injuries that can be prevented with quality, dependable welding boots. To ensure maximum protection and durability, many welders opt for steel-toe boots with additional shields and coverings to safeguard the feet against sparks, spatters, and metal chunks.
Welding is only dangerous as you make it to be. If you don’t approach the process with caution, you’re leaving yourself exposed to life-threatening hazards. While some risks cannot be eliminated completely, they can be properly managed with the right safety equipment. With that being said, you can now start preparing for your next big welding project.