Those working in welding and metalwork know the hazards and risk of injury if not protected properly. In fact, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is typically a requirement for welding jobs and metal work of many types. If you are not wearing PPE, you stand the chance of eye injury or injury from small flying fragments. Chemical injuries from splashes may also occur if not protected. Here are major types of protective gear worn by welders and metalworkers.
1. Welding Helmets
Welding helmets protect the head from flying debris and sharp metal. Some welding helmets feature a face shield as well. These often have anti-fog windows.
Some welding helmets are made with a low profile. This allows the welder to work in tight spaces. For those who work with plasma, a welding helmet with a face shield that includes shades that automatically darken is often used. The helmet should also be flame retardant.
2. Welding Jackets
The idea of a welding jacket is to protect the metalworker from serious burns and ultraviolet exposure. A welding jacket is typically made of cotton, wool, leather, or denim, and will be flame resistant and not catch sparks. It is best to avoid a welding jacket made with synthetic materials, as these fibers may melt and not provide adequate protection. Some welding jackets feature a detachable apron as well. Welding jackets will often feature storage pockets in front.
3. Welding Boots
This type of boot typically is a steel-toed work boot. It can protect the feet from injury if a heavy object falls on them. Additionally, steel-toed work boots provide protection from heat and sparks while working.
4. Hearing Protection
A welding or machinist workshop is a very noisy place. The noise from the grinding and metalwork can cause hearing damage when working without ear protection. Hearing protection typically includes earplugs or ear muffs. It is best to choose ear muffs made of a durable thermoplastic material that are made with a soft and comfortable cushion. An adjustable headband will fit most users.
5. Welding Gloves
It is obviously important to protect the hands when doing metalwork of any kind. The best gloves will have heavy layers of material for protection and will be well insulated. Genuine leather provides protection from burns and abrasions. Fleece or foam insulation protects the hands from scorches and burns.
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