Choosing the right welding clothing will save you from serious burns and UV exposure, and best of all, it’s not hard to find safe clothing for wherever you’re welding.
Image Source: New River Community College
Besides a helmet with at least four arc sensors, auto-darkening, and a variety of shade settings that will protect you from flashes while providing optimal visibility, you’ll need to begin your welding safety gear with simple clothing that won’t catch sparks and burn your skin. In addition, long sleeves are important for protecting your skin from spatter, slag, and dangerous UV rays that your gloves won't cover.
Clothing for Welding
The best materials for welding clothing include the following:
The worst materials for welding include:
- Synthetic Materials
Synthetic materials are a problem because they will melt and cause severe burns on your skin. Cotton clothing will be damaged by sparks and slag, but cotton will just smolder and you can snuff it out quickly without harming yourself. If you want to protect your clothing, or you’re welding in a colder setting, consider some of the various safety options available.
Welding jackets are typically quite heavy and are made of leather. They offer a significant amount of protection, but they aren’t necessarily the best choice for welding in a warmer climate.
If you want to protect your neck, shoulders, and chest, you can pick up a welding bib that hangs down from your helmet or face shield. Welding bibs keep your arms from restrictions and help you stay cooler while you weld.
Welding aprons preserve freedom of movement for your arms while providing thorough protection of your body. They are typically made of leather, though you can also find light-weight cotton aprons that may be all you need for light jobs or TIG welding. Aprons are also cooler than a leather jacket.
If you’re wearing an apron or welding bib, you still need to protect your arms, especially if you’re stick welding. Gauntlets provide protection along your arms and can even be attached to your welding gloves. You can also pick up a longer pair of welding gloves that keep your forearms safe.
Welding often involves moving heavy objects, and a sturdy steel-toed work boot can save you a lot of pain and aggravation should anything fall on your foot. Besides protecting you from falling objects, thick work boots will also protect your feet from sparks and heat during the welding process.
Basic Clothing Safety
Since arc welding involves an electrical arc that is operating at a high current, you need to make sure your clothing is dry and free from any flammable materials while you work. Wet clothing is a hazard you need to avoid while welding.
Other commonsense safety tips include keeping your shirt buttoned up and wearing clothing that fits rather than clothing that is baggy. Clothing safety isn’t hard to learn, but if ignored, the results can be quite painful and even knock you out of commission.
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