Archive for Welding

7 Welding Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Firing Up

Welding is the most widely used method for joining metals in today’s metalworking industries. It is highly effective, with welded joints often being stronger than the original separate pieces from which they were formed. However, the intense process of melting down and fusing metal brings up several welding safety issues. Whether gas welding, arc welding, oxygen cutting or arc cutting, welders face dangers such as burns, smoke, fumes, powerful heat and light radiation, and harmful dust. But, when a welder follows the appropriate safety steps, he can weld with confidence. Be mindful of these seven tips before firing up the flame.

1) Always wear a welding mask. Welding requires the worker to keep his face right up close to the welding site as he carefully performs his skilled task. The worker must thus wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the face at all times for safety purposes and to prevent harm from radiant energy as well as weld sparks and splatter. Either a full helmet or a hand shield (handheld iron face protector) may be appropriate depending on the type of welding. Helmets and hand shields protect against arc rays, sparks and splatters that may strike directly against the shield during welding.

2) Protect your eyes. The eyes are at particular risk during the welding process, as serious, permanent damage may occur from any small spark or weld splatter making contact with the eye if the proper safety tips are not followed. Additionally, the eyes are at risk from the intense light that is created by the welding process. Arc flash, a painful eye condition, can result from only a second or two of unprotected eye exposure to arc rays. Helmets and shields should be equipped with a filter shade with an appropriately dark lens. Auto-darkening helmets are useful, as they can quickly adjust based on light conditions. A further layer of eye protection, such as goggles, should be worn to protect against impact hazards such as slag chips and grinding fragments that may ricochet under the helmet.

3) Wear the right clothing. Welding clothing should fully cover your body to guarantee safety. Ultraviolet and infrared rays can painfully damage any exposed skin. All garments should be flame resistant clothing. For instance, denim should be worn as opposed to cotton pants. A welder should wear a welding jacket made of flame-resistant cloth or leather, which offer surefire protection while also providing ease of movement. Heavy-duty welding gloves, which are now available with ergonomically curved fingers, should be worn at all times. Some kind of protective footwear should be worn, such as high-top leather boots to provide the best shielding.

4) Don’t give sparks space to catch. When preparing to weld, a welder should go over all clothing as a safety precaution to check whether there are any small spaces on his person where sparks might catch. Button up shirt collars, cuffs and pockets to avoid giving sparks a place to land and smolder, which may potentially lead to serious burns. Pants legs should go over shoes, and gloves over sleeves. Also, do not carry any lighters or matches, which may ignite when they come into contact with sparks or heat. Cover any garments that are not fireproof with the proper gear, like a welding apron or protective sleeves.

5) Ventilate the workspace. Welding creates smoke and fumes which may accumulate in a workspace and render the air toxic, particularly in confined spaces. Where a workspace is not large enough for natural ventilation to be sufficient, with at least 10,000 square feet of space per welder, then the workspace should contain a means of mechanical ventilation. Either a functioning exhaust hood or a high-vacuum system should be employed to eliminate fumes and maintain enough safely breathable air for all workers. Certain materials may also require additional PPE such as welding respirators to ensure your breathing safety.

6) Know your machine. While basic processes may be similar between different machines, the welder should always know the particular machine he is working with at any given time inside and out. Anyone who uses a machine should consult its manual to understand the mechanics and the particular recommended safety procedures recommended by the manufacturer. This may lead to more efficient as well as safer welding. Maintain a copy of the manual in the workspace for reference.

7) Make safety an ingrained part of the company culture. Proper safety should not be an occasional area of focus in a workplace. Rather, it should be everyone’s first priority and at the forefront of every welder’s mind. Employers should ensure that every employee is familiar with the appropriate safety tips and procedures, and welders should look out for each other to make sure they are always wearing all necessary PPE. With the right knowledge, welding accidents are highly preventable.

Women’s Work

In 2010, women accounted for 46.7% of the workforce. More women than ever before are choosing non-traditional occupations, such as welders or electricians. The problem is most occupational safety equipment were meant to fit men. However, the good news is that some companies have recognized this problem, and designed their products to fit the smaller frame of a woman.

  • Women’s Safety Glasses: A large selection of lighter, smaller frames and stylish designs mean women don’t have to sacrifice comfort for protection. All our Womens Safety Glasses meet ANSI Z87 high impact standards, and protect against harmful UV rays.
  • Women’s Welding Gloves: AngelFire Welding Gloves are just as tough as men’s welding gloves, but cut smaller and thinner better fit a woman’s hands. Available in TIG Welding and MIG/Stick Welding styles.
  • Womens Welding Coats: AngelFire Welding Coats feature a contoured body, tapered sleeves and high collar, eliminating gaps that can leave skin exposed to sparks. Choose the 9oz FR Cotton Welding Coat for light jobs, or the Hybrid FR Cotton/Pigskin Welding Coat for heavy duty protection.
  • Women’s Fall Protection: The Ms. Miller Harness is the only full body harness specifically designed for the female worker. Made from a blend of Polyester, Nylon and Lycra, its straps are cut fuller in the hips and higher in the chest, making it much more comfortable for women.

So come on ladies – Don’t settle for just any safety equipment! Choose equipment designed with you in mind!

How to Select the Right Welding Glove

Ask any welder, the best welding gloves offer flexibility, durability, comfort and heat resistance.  Even though the sole purpose of  a welding glove  is to protect your hands from high temperatures, they are not all the same. Grain, Split, Deerskin, Pigskin, Cowhide, Mig,  Tig, Stick gloves, oh the pressure! There’s a few things to consider when shopping for welding gloves.  First the protection level, application,  leather preference and Welding Glovesquality(which often follows price).

Welding gloves can range anywhere from 3 bucks to $20. Remember, you get what you pay for. That’s why it’s important to know the application and protection level you need.  For example, economic welding gloves are great for short term welding applications and general purpose applications that need low heat, flame or spark protection. However, these gloves are often made of the lowest grade of animal skin, offer less protection and don’t last as long. That’s when the most important question comes into play: “What type of protection do I need?” Rule of thumb; the higher the heat, the more insulation or lining your glove needs. Unfortunately, the thicker the lining the less dexterity you might have.  Identifying key features that different leathers offer will  help you select the right welders gloves. Here’s animal skins 101 for welders:

SKIN TYPES

Elk Skin: Most resistant from heat, flames and abrasions

Cowhide:  Durable, heat and flame resistant

Deerskin: Most comfortable fit and dexterity

Pigskin:  Most resistant to oil and water than any types of leather

Goatskin: Lightweight, oil and weather resistant

LEATHER TYPES:

Grain: The smooth outer layer from which the animal hair grows. Grain leather appears smooth and shiny and provides better sensitivity and control.

Split: Located entirely on the flesh side.  Split leather is napped (also know as suede)  and is much thicker.

TYPES OF WELDING:

Tig Welding:  TIG welders use one hand to add the filler rod while the other hand holds the torch. This type of welding produces the most heat which requires thicker gloves. The most important feature in a TIG welding glove is Kevlar thread that provides additional heat resistance.  In addition, a TIG glove lined with wool or cotton-foam can provide more protection than a glove lined with cotton. TIG Welding Gloves are designed specifically for TIG welding. They offer the maximum heat protection features without loss of dexterity.

Mig Welding: Mig Welding is the most common used welding process.  It uses a welding gun, a power source, shielding gas and a constant feed of welding wire.  This process generates high heat and requires high dexterity. MIG Gloves feature excellent heat protection along with comfort and dexterity.

STICK (SMAW) Welding: Stick welding (also referred as arc welding) is a manual welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated in flux to lay the weld. This welding process produces less heat with virtually no sparks or splatter. STICK welding gloves provide low heat protection and emphasize on dexterity. Thin, top-grain pigskin, deerskin gloves are often used for Stick welding.