When we think about the safety apparel of a welder, the first thing that comes to mind is welding helmets and gloves. But, there are other pieces of protective gear as well on which welders rely on in order to keep themselves safe when doing their highly hazardous work.
Undoubtedly, helmets and gloves are the most important safety equipment and no welder should work without them. However, there are certain other PPE as well, which not only ensure the safety of the welders but also ease their work.
Safety is the major concern in the welding industry and various protective clothing is required while welding and cutting applications. Minimum safety requirements include hoods, aprons, sleeves, and gaiters that are manufactured to protect the wearer’s body including head and feet.
The most common injuries in the welding industries are burns from hot metals or from weld spatter. The other injuries are due to exposure to arc rays and electric shock. To minimize the hazards, there are some precautions that can be implemented.
- PPE used in the welding industry should be made of heavyweight, fire retardant wool or cotton or leather that can provide protection from UV radiation, weld spatter, sparks and open flame.
- To prevent burns, it is always advised to cover whole skin, and wear PPE. Few options are listed below:
1. Long sleeve jackets
2. Long pants
3. Welding caps
5. Welding sleeves
6. Welding aprons
7. Welding capes
- Wear high boots, fully laced and ensure the pant covers the boot and has no cuffs.
- To avoid sparks and spat use a leather apron.
Leather vs. Cotton
Flame-resistant cotton is one of the most common fabrics. It is lightweight, inexpensive, and its structure deprive the area of oxygen and inhibit combustion when it comes in contact with flames or hot materials. It is more breathable and comfortable than leather. But, cotton does not provide enough protection for all welding tasks and its lifespan is also shorter than leather.
Leather is considered as the best material for welding PPE because it prevents heat from penetrating through the garments due to its density and thickness. It is very durable, has a longer lifespan, and can be used in most welding applications.
But leather garments are expensive in comparison to the cotton ones. Leather is heavier and can result in fatigue. The insulating properties while dealing with sparks and spatter also impede body heat, leaving wearers sweaty and hot. Also, due to exposure to heat and repeated washes, the leather becomes stiffer and uncomfortable.
Hence, while choosing between cotton and leather do a proper hazard assessment, know your tasks and the limitations of your PPE.
Common Welding PPE
Welding mask protects your face and eyes from harmful radiation, but that is not enough. Consider wearing an FR cap to protect your head and hair from sparks, spatter, burns, and radiation.
Shirts, Jackets, and Capes
Shirts and jackets can be made from either FR cotton or leather, while capes are generally made of leather.
Jackets and shirts are designed to cover the body and protect against burns and radiation. In order to make them more comfortable, some shirts have leather sleeves and cotton body.
For overhead welding, welding jackets are a must. The coverage it provides will prevent debris and spatter from causing injury. Also, while working make sure that shirts and jackets should be kept dry, since getting them wet increases the possibility of an electric shock. Change the shirt before doing work, if the shirt becomes wet.
Capes do not protect or cover the torso; it is only effective for the protection of shoulders and arms.
Sleeves are manufactured to provide protection in low-volume welding processes. They protect the welder’s arm by preventing sparks, hot debris, and spatter from coming in contact with your skin.
Welding sleeves can be made of leather fabric with shirts and jackets. They also come in various sizes and are secured on the arms with elastic.
Aprons are not sized but come in standardized lengths, with some featuring adjustable neck-straps. Aprons cover the area from the chest to the knee but do not provide coverage on shoulders and arms.
Aprons are commonly made of leather and are worn in combination with FR clothing to enhance the protection without using a full leather suit.
Leather safety boots are considered effective for most occasional welding work. For extra protection, you can also get slip-on or slip-over leather shields that will prevent sparks and spatter. There are temperature-resistant safety boots that have lace covers to protect laces from material burns. These are ideal for welding professionals.
Leg protection is available in different shapes and sizes, from leggings to pants. Leggings are generally used in low-volume work, while professionals would go for pants.
Leggings are usually made of denim that makes them light, comfortable and easy to fasten. They are also not very durable and offer less protection than pants.
Pants are made of either cotton or leather. While cotton pants are comfortable but have limited durability to leather. To overcome this limitation you can wear leather chaps in combination with FR jeans.
Take the Time to Get the Right Choice
There are many types of PPE available online and in the market for welding and they can be used in many ways. The PPE that you will wear will depend on the hazard, where you work, how often you do the task, your budget, and at last the how comfortable the material is. You can get the best PPE as per your requirement on our website moglix.com at an affordable price.