Whether you want to learn welding for a new career in the construction industry or if you just want to make your own repairs around your home or farm, one thing you’ll have to stock up on is safety equipment. You can’t weld without safety equipment because of the intense heat, bright light, and UV radiation that is released during the process. Here are a few of the items you’ll need for the best protection.
Fire Resistant Clothing
You don’t want to wear your regular clothes when welding because flying sparks could ignite the fabric. Instead, buy fire resistant clothes that cover as much of your skin as possible. Long sleeves and long pants are a must. Plus, heavy fabric with a tight weave is ideal since it will protect your skin from burns. Buy shirts without pockets, and pants without cuffs. You don’t want any crevices available for sparks to land in or you could get a bad burn on your skin before you can get the spark removed. Be sure to care for your fire resistant work clothing properly because the retardant will probably wear off a little each time the clothing is laundered. Wash the clothes according to the manufacturer’s directions. Don’t wear them to weld if they have spills or stains that could easily ignite. Also, don’t forget your head. You’ll want to protect your hair and scalp from flying sparks by wearing a fire resistant cap or hood while you work.
Face and Eye Protection
It is critical to wear eye protection when you’re welding because the radiation and intense light can cause blindness. There are two components to eye protection. Goggles protect your eyes from flying sparks and metal debris. A helmet with a face shield protects your eyes from bright light and radiation. A welder’s helmet has a plate in the front the covers your entire face and part of your neck from heat and burns. There is a small window in the helmet so you can see what you are working on. You can insert lenses into the helmet that offer various degrees of protection depending on the type of welding you’re doing. The darker the lens, the more protection from light and radiation it offers. When you weld, two types of light radiation are produced. One type emits heat and warns you of exposure. The other type is undetectable. You could be exposed to damaging light radiation and not even know it until hours later when your eyes swell and you temporarily lose your vision. For that reason, you should never weld without full protection for your eyes.
Shoes and Gloves
Foot protection is necessary too. Leather ankle boots are ideal as these spare your feet and ankles from burns. Steel-toe boots offer further protection. Always wear your pant legs on the outside of your boots rather than tucked it. This keeps sparks from falling inside your shoes. Gloves are required any time you weld. You can buy gloves made specifically for welding. These are thick gloves made from leather that protect you from burns and cuts. If you keep the gloves dry, they also offer some protection from electrical shock while you’re working.
Other protection you may want to consider depending on the type of welding you do and the environment you’re welding in are ear protection against excessive loud noise, a respirator if ventilation isn’t adequate, and a leather apron for enhanced protection from flying sparks. Welding is a very useful skill to learn, but the risk of injury is high if you don’t wear the proper safety equipment. Fortunately, you can easily find everything you need wherever you shop for other welding supplies and accessories.