Welding Safety 101

If you have recently purchased a MIG, TIG or stick welder machine from Weldpro, it’s important that you always practice proper welding safety. But, if you’re new to welding or cutting, you’re probably wondering what you need to know to keep yourself safe. Welding can be an exhilarating hobby, but if it’s not done safely, the process can be complete misery and a recipe for injury, such as a welding sunburn.

Before you start working with a MIG welder or TIG welder, you should know the following welding safety tips in regard to fire safety, UV light and ventilation. After continued practice, these welding safety procedures will become second nature, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Welding Safety Tips: Fire Safety

When you first start welding, you will notice that the process often comes with lots of sparks and heat, and even open flame. It is important that we pay careful attention to combustible materials and ensure there is nothing flammable around the welding station. Remember, sparks can easily fly 10-20 feet, so make sure you have enough clearance from anything that could potentially catch fire. For total welder safety, don’t keep cardboard boxes, food wrappers or other plastic near your work area.

When you work at a welding station, you should know that loose clothing can potentially burn. Depending on what you are wearing, your clothes can catch fire while you are welding. Make sure that your pants have no frayed edges because these little fibers go up like gasoline. Be sure not to wear any fabrics that melt, such as lycra or spandex. If welding sparks or flame hit these materials they can melt directly into your skin. Cotton is the preferred choice of welders because it does not burn easily and is great at keeping out UV light. Additionally, if a process calls for something like 4G FCAW flux core welding, it may be necessary to wear a heavy leather jacket to protect you from the sparks and slag. Finally, make sure you cover all hair. Depending on the welding process, sparks will fly onto your head and can easily ignite hair. Wear a welding cap or beanie whenever possible.

One of the biggest welding safety rules you should follow is to choose a good pair of welding gloves that suit the process. Thinner gloves can be used for processes like TIG or GTAW welding. As you get into MIG welding, though, the gloves need to be a little thicker to adhere to recommended welding safety procedures. This is because MIG welding produces a great deal of sparks that can burn through thinner gloves. Stick (SMAW) and Flux core (FCAW) welding can produce the highest level of falling sparks and slag. Since these types of welds are often much hotter than other processes, wearing thicker leather gloves is in order for welding shop safety.

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Welding Safety Tips: Ultraviolet Light

When working with arc welding, it is important to remember that a strong ultraviolet light will often accompany the weld. Protecting yourself from this intense light is important so that you don’t get a welding sunburn.

The UV light from a welding arc is so strong that it only takes a few minutes to get a severe sunburn on exposed skin. Making sure that 100% of your skin is covered is extremely important for welder safety. For example, a gap between a glove and a sleeve can burn a ring around a welder’s arm. A welding jacket that is not buttoned completely up will burn a V shape into the welders neck and chest. Always take care to cover all skin!

When talking about UV light we must not overlook the harm it causes to our vision, as well. Using an approved hood with a suitable shade lens in your workplace is crucial to protect your eyes. The hood needs to cover the entire face. Facial skin is thinner than other skin, particularly around the eyes. If your eyes are not protected, serious, lasting damage can impact vision. NEVER strike an arc without eye and face protection because you can also develop welder’s flash. This is when the outer layer of the cornea is burned by ultraviolet light and it often causes an uncomfortable, dry, burning feeling in the eyes. If welder’s flash happens too often, it can cause deterioration in the welder’s eyes. You only get one set. Take care of them.

Welding Safety Tips: Adequate Ventilation

Welding produces caustic fumes that are known to cause respiratory harm and even cancer. If you weld in an enclosed space, you can choke quickly from breathing in welding fumes and smoke. Unfortunately, certain types of metals can accelerate this process. When welding, it is important to be in an open, well ventilated area or have a smoke removal system in place within your welding shop. Safety is of the highest concern with these fumes, so your welding area must always have plenty of fresh air to avoid damaging the long term health of a welder.

Purchase Efficient Machines for Ultimate Welding Safety

Welding can be a fun and exciting hobby or a lucrative career. When time is taken to ensure welding safety procedures are followed, the process is even more enjoyable. Don’t take a shortcut on safety gear, PPE or any of your welding equipment. Make sure you order your gear and welding accessories from Weldpro so you know you’re working with reliable and durable machinery. If you have any questions about our products, please contact us or view some valuable and insightful blog articles from our resource library. Otherwise, check out our inventory and place your purchase.

Weld Safe!