Welding is quickly becoming a hot topic. As more of the baby boomers retire, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there is a lack of skilled workers to take their place in fields like welding. With more people turning to welding in order to have a promising and stable career, it is important that they educate themselves on proper welding apparel.
Welding apparel varies and what is worn can depend on the welder and the job that is being done. Welding apparel is required by OSHA safety standards and should be worn during any welding, cutting, or brazing job both in the workplace and at home workshops. When wearing welding apparel, keep in mind that you are not wearing it to look stylish or wearing it even for comfort. You are wearing it to protect yourself from injury, including serious injuries, while you work.
The light from the welding arc can cause burns to the skin, so it is important to wear clothing that does not have gaps or openings that will allow your skin to be exposed. Anyone who is working near a welder – such as an assistant or a firespotter – should also wear the proper apparel to protect themselves. All clothing, including welding gloves, should be kept dry at all times. There are occasions where you may sweat or have to work in damp conditions. When this happens, you should change your protective clothing when possible, so that you can wear dry clothes as much as you can.
Never wear cotton clothing if it is not treated with a fire retardant. Cotton will easily catch fire and can even if treated, though it will be more difficult for a fire to start. Woolen clothing is a better idea for welders. Wool will not easily burn and is not damaged as much by spatter from welding. It also helps to protect you from temperature changes. Clothing like overalls or jumpers needs to be as free from oil and grease as possible.
Fireproof jackets and aprons are needed for further protection. They should be made of a fire resistant material or leather. They help to protect from radiated heat, sparks, and molten metal. When doing cutting or overhead welding, you should wear shoulder covers or capes for protection and these should be made of fire resistant materials. To help protect your head from burns, you can wear leather skullcaps under your welding helmet.
Sleeves and collars should always be buttoned so that sparks do not lodge in folded sleeves or pant cuffs. Don’t wear anything that has pockets in the front because sparks can lodge in them. Fire-resistant leggings or high boots are a good idea for welding apparel for those who do heavy work. Gloves should be fire-resistant, preferably made of leather, and will protect the arms and hands from both sparks and the arc.
Welding apparel is never an option when you are welding. Without it, you run the risk of serious injury such as burns or a condition known as arc eye, a painful problem that affects the eyes. If you don’t wear your safety gear at work, your company is likely to let you go. At home, it is just as important so that you can avoid injury.