Introduction to Welding Safety

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Personal Protective Equipment(PPE)

  • Safety Glasses

Workers should always wear safety glasses in a welding environment. A certified approved pair of safety glasses will protect your eyes from arc flash, sparks and flying debris. Safety glasses should fit comfortably on your face and cover your eyes completely from your temples to your nose.

  • Full Face Visor

These devices are used in conjunction with safety glasses to provide the worker with added protection from flying debris and sparks when performing operations such as grinding, chipping and cutting.

  • Welding Helmets and Filter Lenses

A suitable welding helmet must be worn when welding to protect your eyes from light, heat, spatter and slag. These helmets are typically made from a durable material that does not allow light or radiation through and it will have window built into it where a specific filter lens is used to allow the welder to see the welding operation despite the intense light that is emitted. The filter lens absorb most of the harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays, as well as a large amount of visible light. Filter lenses are available in a variety of shades depending on the welding process being performed. A suitable choice shade for your particular welding precess has a arksconsiderable effect on your comfort and vision. The objective is to select a shade that eliminates glare, but allows you to see the work distinctly. Therefore, no one shade will suit all types of welding operations. Both the American Welding Society (AWS) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) have guidelines for filter lenses for most welding and cutting operations.

  • Shade#9-low amperage SMAW, GTAW, PAC.
  • Shade#10-low to medium amperage SMAW, GTAW, PAC.
  • Shade#11-medium amperage SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, PAC.
  • Shade#12-medium to high amperage SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, PAC, CAC-A.
  • Shade#13-high amperage SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, PAC, CAC-A.

Each persons eyes are different therefore the shade to choose is ultimately up to you. As a general rule, if after welding for a few minutes you lift your helmet and see light spots, your lens is probably to light. If you see dark spots your lens is too dark.

  • Protective Clothing

The best clothing materials for welding are leather, wool and denim(cooton) because they repel sparks and slag. Leather is a very durable material, but is often uncomfortable in warm weather. So many workers have compromised by weather aprons, half jackets or sleeves to allow body heat to escape. Wool is more desireable or cold temperatures and less flammable than cotton. Denim is the most practical type of clothing, but make sure it is 100% cotton. Avoid wearing synthetics like polyester, because they will melt where sparks land allowing sparks to reach the skin. Some synthetics may flare up and engulf the wearer in flames.

  • Gloves

Leather, gauntlet style glove provide the best protection because they cover up the wrists as well. Most welding gloves are chrome-tanned, meaning chromium salts are use in the tanning process. This makes the leather more resistant to abrasion.

  • Footwear

High top steel toed leather boots that have no laces offer the best protection. Footwear should have electrically non-conductive soles.

Radiant Energy

Some of the most serious welding hazards are the harmful light rays emitted from the arc. Both invisible and visible light rays are given off. There are three types of radiant energy that the welding process produces.

  • visible light
  • ultraviolet light
  • infrared rays

Temperature extremes


Sparks and Slag

Electric shock