Welding is an important, yet hazardous job that involves many different pieces of equipment that could potentially cause harm to the human body. Welding is the process of heating a metal object with a blowpipe so that it fuses together with another metal object.
A welder essentially fuses two pieces of metal together.
There are four different types of welding. These are:
- Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)– With SMAW, the welder adopts the process of stick welding. The stick uses an electric current to join metals.
- Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)– This type of welding can also be referred to as MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and involves gas shielded along a wire electrode. This heats up the two metals that need to be joined.
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)- An alternative to shield welding, the FCAW is a fast form of welding, often used in construction projects.
- Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding (GTAW/TIG)- In this form of welding, it is the tungsten electrode that forms the weld. It is a slower method than the other ways to weld.
What is welding useful for?
No matter what type of welding a labourer is doing, it is really important that they wear the appropriate PPE to keep themselves protected. Anything that is made of metal will most likely have been welded at some stage. Cars and motorcycles are among the vehicles that require welding, while skyscrapers and bridges are examples of further objects that require welding.
There are many more metal objects that society benefits from that need welding, and therefore welding is a thriving industry in modern life. Ultimately, welding protective clothing is an essential factor in welding safety and features in the HSE welding regulations to keep workers safe.
So, what is the best PPE for welding and why should employers ensure their staff are wearing it?
It is important that welders are wearing PPE to keep them safe from sparks, flying objects, hot metal and sharp equipment. Here are the types of PPE used in welding:
A welding helmet will protect the welder from any falling objects. Many helmets also consist of a feature to protect the eyes.
What should welders use to protect their eyes?
Goggles or a face shield should be used by welders to protect their eyes. This is to protect both their face and vision from flying objects, sparks, heat, irritation and bright light.
Respiratory masks cover the mouth to prevent particles from entering the lungs. This is important to protect the chest from unwanted welding fumes and oxides which can, in the future, lead to breathing troubles.
Flame resistant clothing
Fire/ flame-resistant clothing will protect welders from intense heat and fires. The welding clothing material can prevent welders getting burns on their skin.
Earmuffs, ear plugs
Welding can be noisy. Ear muffs and ear plugs prevent welders eardrums become affected from loud noises.
Safety boots can offer protection against falling objects, as well as trips, slips and fall. Boots with anti-static properties are useful for welders.
Safety gloves should be insulated and thick to prevent burns from sparks and fire.
Why should leather gloves be worn when welding?
Leather gloves are favoured because they don’t conduct heat and handle heat well. Similarly to the different types of welding, there are also a number of different leathers available for welding gloves. These include Horsehide, pigskin, goatskin, cowhide, deerskin and Elskin.
Find PPE for welding at Essential Safety Wear
Essential Safety Wear stock various PPE items that can be worn by welders to protect themselves from harm.
Browse our range of PPE to find welding PPE to suit your role.