The electrical currents, high heat, sparks, and fumes that occur during welding make it a dangerous job. In addition to their specialized training, welders need the proper safety equipment while they work in metal processing. Below is a brief guide to these essential tools.
Important Safety Equipment in Welding & Metal Processing
1. Helmet & Respirator
A welding helmet should cover the entire face and top of the head to protect the welder from sparks or flying scrap. The helmet should have auto-darkening lenses, since welding arcs are bright flashes of UV light that can cause blindness without protection. Looking directly at welding arcs is comparable to staring right at the sun.
Welding releases toxic fumes that could cause problems ranging from fever to lung cancer. A special respirator designed to fit underneath the helmet is recommended. In addition to wearing a respirator, there needs to be proper ventilation in the work area.
Flying sparks and hot metal require that welders wear flame-resistant clothing. Natural materials like denim and leather are preferable, since they will not melt if a spark lands on them like synthetic materials will. The entire torso and arms should be protected with a leather jacket or a welding apron complete with welding sleeves.
Gloves are some of the most important pieces of protective equipment in welding. Since the hands are close to the work, they will catch the most sparks and flying debris, and will have a lot of heat near them. Special welding gloves are thick and fire-proof. Some common materials include cowhide, goatskin, or pigskin.
The feet are susceptible to falling bits of scrap metal during metal processing, so appropriate footwear is important. Steel-toed work boots are best. Welding boots are best served if they don’t have laces, as stray sparks can burn them.
When you’re ready to get to work in metal processing, turn to American Metal Supply for all your needs. They have convenient warehouses in both Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, stocked with both raw and finished materials. Their vast inventory includes hot roll, cold finish, stainless steel, aluminum options, and more. Call (502) 624-4321 or visit their website to request a quote for top-quality metal at fantastic rates.