Welders have a hand in almost every industry. They repair car parts, fit pipes, lay track, build bridges, and fuse metals. Without welders, so much of our daily lives would literally come apart at the seams. And they make their work look so easy; we don’t even think twice about things that are welded. But even though it may look easy, welding can be a dangerous profession. That’s why safety gear and clothing are so important. Here’s what you need to know:
Face and Eye Protection
As a welder, you’ll be exposed to flying objects. These can range from particles to liquid metals to light radiation. Proper eye and face protection should include detachable side protectors, filtered lenses, prescription lenses as needed, and protective shade. Things like thickness and shade level will depend on the job at hand: shielded metal arc welding requires less while plasma arc cutting requires more.1
Avoid Breathing Problems
The stuff flying around your face and eyes can also end up in your lungs. Welders’ work environments can be in clouds of harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, and vapors. Use respirators to filter polluted air so you can safely breathe. The exact type of face mask will depend on the work materials that you’re exposed to.2
Helmets and Head Gear
Helmets will protect you from heavy objects like pipes and sheets of metal and also from things like electric shock. As a welder you may work with materials that conduct electricity. Helmets will reduce risk of electrocution when working with exposed electrical conductors, as well as falling objects or tools.3
Gloves Come in Handy
Because you weld with your hands, your hands are at great risk of hazardous exposures. Don’t expect to get near a torch or electrode without the right hand gear. Gloves guard against cuts and lacerations, skin abrasions, thermal and chemical burns, and temperature extremes.4 Your best option for gloves are made of leather; what type will depend on your preferred comfort and durability.
Sidestep Foot Injuries
When you worry about objects falling on your head, you may forget about your feet. Don’t! Foot injuries occur due to falling or rolling objects, pieces that pierce the soles of your shoes, or through electrical currents and static-discharge. Look for tough leather boots, with a metatarsal guard to keep your laces from dangling around – a fire hazard.
Coveralls will keep everything between your head, feet, and hands safe. The highest quality will be made of leather, like your gloves and boots, but cotton is also available. Some come with reflective tape, which is helpful for night work. No matter the material, though, make sure it’s flame-resistant.
A job in welding can be a bit risky, but it’s also rewarding. You’ll work on projects large and small, which can have positive impacts on our everyday lives. At Charter College, our hands-on Welding Certificate program will train you in the latest skills and best practices to prepare you for an entry-level job in the field in as little as 10 months. To learn more about this growth industry and our campuses in Vancouver, WA and Anchorage, AK, fill out the form and well provide you with additional information about the Charter College Welding Certificate program.