What are the different types of PPE for Welding?
What Kind of PPE Should You Wear While Welding?
Personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, is used by workers and employees for their protection against any possible hazards that may occur while they are working in their workplaces. PPE has caught the attention of just about everyone after the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the use of PPE became much more important and widespread.
But, even before the pandemic, PPE was widely used in the workplace. Especially in manufacturing and maintenance, PPE has a huge role to play. In this article, we are going to talk about PPE for welding. Why is PPE for welding important? Which PPE is used for welding? These are the two prominent questions that would be answered through this article. If you’re wondering about what welding is about, then let’s dive into it right away.
What is Welding?
Welding is a process used for fabrication. It is widely used for joining two metallic or thermoplastic parts. The process involves a welding stick that produces a high temperature at the joining surface, which allows the material to join. The subsequent cooling allows the surfaces to come together and form a strong joint.
In the process of welding, the surface of the material is melted. This is a major distinguishing point between brazing, soldering, and welding. In brazing and soldering, there is no melting of the surface (of metals or thermoplastics). The welding process may also include the use of binding or filler material which helps the formation of easier and stronger joints.
For more details, check out this article on welding.
The process involves the generation of tremendous amounts of heat concentrated at a point source. The process also produces sparks. There are different types of welding, but the basics of the process remain the same. The process of welding is considered to be dangerous if necessary safety measures are not taken. These safety measures include the use of PPE.
Why is PPE For Welding Important?
There is a high chance of burn while welding. In the process of welding, sparks are produced that may also cause burns or blisters. Most welding types involve an open arc. This can be an electric arc or a flame. Due to this, there is a high risk of a fire hazard.
Moreover, the welding arc that produces tremendous heat and light can cause damage to the human eyes. The radiation that is emitted may further cause arc eye, flash burns, and even partial blindness in extreme cases. Regular exposure to radiation and light welding without proper eye protection PPE can cause eye injuries. There is a high risk of eye injury due to any chipped material as well.
The process of welding can produce dangerous and toxic gases in addition to the formation of PM (Particulate Matter). Even the fumes produced can be quite dangerous. To avoid any fatality, respiratory protection PPE is always included in the PPE for welding. It is highly recommended that the welders should not expose any skin.
You can check out hazards of welding for in-depth knowledge of each hazard.
Which PPE is used for welding?
Prominently used PPE for welding include eye (& face) protection PPE, respiratory protection PPE, body protection PPE, and hand protection PPE. Ear protection PPE and foot protection PPE can also be used by individuals.
Eye (& Face) Protection PPE
PPE for welding is incomplete without eye (& face) protection PPE. Welding hood is very well-known even amongst the masses. It is widely used by welders to protect their eyes & face from sparks, light, radiation, and heat. In some cases, welders may also use safety goggles, hand shields, or face shields. Eye protection PPE also protects individuals from harmful UV rays as well.
Now, depending upon the types of welding, the resultant light intensity, and radiation, the type of eye protection PPE varies. For example, in arc welding, a complete face needs to be shielded, which means a welding hood, face shield, or hand shield must be employed. In a typical welding hood, there is a filter lens that allows the welder to view the welding process. There are standards for the selection of filters. The filter regulates the light intensity. There is a range for this filter that varies depending upon the intensity of light & radiation.
Tip: Never wear a contact lens while welding.
Check out our blog on eye protection PPE.
Respiratory protection PPE is mandatory if welding is done in closed spaces. In many cases, toxic fumes and gases may evolve. In such cases, respirators are made compulsory. The selection of respirators is done after hazard analysis. Proper assessment of hazard is important before the selection of respirator, if not performed properly, it may lead to a faulty respirator selection. This faulty respirator may not protect the individual from hazards.
To protect the welder from burns, flame-resistant clothing must be used. The clothing should be tightly woven and protect the individual from UV radiation as well. Dark color clothing is preferred as they prevent any reflection.
- Do not expose skin.
- Tape any shirt pockets. Cuffs are a no-no.
- Preferably, wear layers of clothing.
Hand Protection PPE
It should be noted that hands are used by the welders throughout the process. So, it becomes essential for a welder to protect their hands using hand protection PPE. Gloves are the first choice for hand protection. Heavy leather gloves or insulated gloves are a go-to for most welders. These gloves protect from heat, burns, and electricity.
For more information, you can take a look at our blog on hand protection PPE and find out details on how to choose the right safety gloves.
Earbuds & Earmuffs
Ear protection PPE is optional, yet is preferred by a few welders. Fire-resistant ones are preferred. They are used to protect ears from the noise. Earmuffs are usually preferred over earbuds.
Fire-resistant boots or rubber-soled safety boots are used by welders. These boots should be laced properly and must be high enough to protect the individual from sparks.
It should be noted that welding is a dangerous process without proper protection. It is highly recommended by government agencies like OSHO that processes like welding should involve the use of a proper PPE kit. PPE for welding includes mainly eye (and face) protection PPE, body protection PPE, and hand protection PPE. In some cases, respiratory protection PPE, foot protection PPE, and ear protection PPE should be employed after proper hazard assessment. Ponder over the hazard assessment and choose a proper PPE for welding.
Stay Safe! Stay Healthy! Stay True!