Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a type of last protection for working employees to prevent occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Some businesses provide these safety gears to workers to ensure a safe and healthy environment thoroughly. PPE greatly reduces the risk of both injuries and minimizes the effects of any causalities. Not only the welding industry but also all other manufacturing industries, laboratories, research centers, etc. Also, OSHA recommends PPE use when administrative or engineering controls are not effective. So, in this article, read all about the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used in the welding industry for workers’ and employees’ protection.
- What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
- Need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Types
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Usage Tips
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Importance
What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is some sort of clothes and equipment worn to minimize exposure to physical, mechanical, radiological, biological, electrical, chemical, and other workplace hazards. Further, welding work can produce hazards such as spatter, sparks, radiation (ultraviolet, infrared, blue light), heat, hot metal, slag, fumes and gases, and even electric shock. PPE may include things like hard hats, muffs, shoes, gloves, respirators, coveralls, safety glasses, earplugs, vests, and full-body suits.
Need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The need or requirement for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) arises due to the elimination or minimization of the effect of possible injuries at the workplace. The possible needs are as follows-
- For Body Protection
- For Eye Protection
- For Foot Protection
- For Hand Protection
- For Head Protection
- For Hearing Protection
- For Respiratory Protection
- To Improving Work Productivity
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Types
There are various types of workplace safety equipment available. It depends on the hazard exposure and work conditions rampant. Welding businesses (companies) use the following types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
1. Welding Helmet
It is a protective device worn while performing certain types of welding to protect the face, eyes, and neck from ultraviolet light, flash burns, infrared light, sparks, and heat. The welding types such as SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, and plasma cutting require a certain welding helmet with an approved shaded lens. The welding process amperage determines the shade of the lens.
2. Face Shield
It is additional eye protection for certain tasks such as welding processes that produce high-velocity particles. Workers require face shields while handling sanders, portable grinders, abrasive cut-off saws, and pedestal grinders.
3. Safety Glasses (goggles)
It is another protection for eyes worn from UVR, irritation, flying particles, and intense light while welding work. Normally, the safety glasses must be in good condition and properly wearing-fit. Employees should avoid the use of mirrored or heavily colored lenses.
4. Gloves (leather)
It protects hands from burns while welding work. Always use leather welding gloves recommended for certain types of welding processes. For example, the recommended choice for FCAW and SMAW welding is thick leather welding gloves.
It is a device that prevents noise and protects ears from loud noises and foreign object damage. Earplugs impart effective comfort from many noise-generating devices during welding work.
6. Welding Cap
It protects the head from slag splatter and hot metals. Sometimes, welders with long hair can tie it back and tuck it inside for protection.
7. Respirator (dust mask)
It protects workers from harmful gases and fumes during welding and associated processes at work. The grinding, SMAW, and FCAW produce fumes and particles. So, during grinding and welding a filter mask or a ½-mask respirator is recommended. The type N95 with charcoal is recommended as minimum protection.
8. Jacket (long-sleeved)
It protects the upper body from possible sparks, radiation, or burns emitted during welding and grinding. Jackets should be made of natural fiber materials such as cotton or wool. Avoid the use of clothing materials like polyester fibers or pantyhose (nylon). A welding-approved jacket is a must.
9. Long Pants
It protects the lower body from possible burns during welding and grinding. Use long pants made of materials like natural fibers (cotton or wool). Avoid pants with cuffs that can catch hot slag or sparks. Also, the sagging and torn holes are preventive.
10. Leather Shoes/Boots (closed-toed)
It protects feet from possible stumbles, falling objects, electric shock, and hot sparks during welding work. Workers must wear leather shoes/boots as per the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F2413-05. The standard elaborates safety footwear into different categories as per the requirement.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Usage Tips
The following are some of the PPE tips for maximum protection.
- Always wear long sleeves and pant legs
- Avoid wearing rings or other jewelry
- Clean helmet lenses periodically and discard damaged lenses
- Discard wearing synthetic or synthetic blends of clothes
- Don’t use wear contact lenses
- Ensure all fabric garments are resistant
- Keep proper ventilation for respiratory protection
- Remove all ignition sources around
- Use a hood for head-back protection
- Use fire-resistant boot protectors
- Wear a tight-fitting opaque welding helmet
- Wear helmet correctly (protect shade lens from sudden temperature changes)
- Wear leather aprons as the circumstances
- Wear tightly-woven recommended fabrics
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Importance
There are multifold benefits of welding PPEs (helmet, mask, goggles, shoes, gloves, respirator, earplug). The importance is as follows-
- Improve work productivity and efficiency
- Prevent injuries from flames, extreme temperatures, sparks, and radiation
- Prevent splashes, chemicals, sprays, harmful gases, droplets, or splatter
- Prevent/avoid unnecessary injury in the workplace
- Protect employees (professionals) from harmful exposures
- Protect eyes from splashes, vision loss, sprays of toxic liquids, and burns
- Protect feet/legs from hot substances, slippery surfaces rolling objects, and electrical hazards
- Protect the head from any force or object falling to the head
Thus, protecting the body from any possible injury from welding activities during work is important for welders or other workers. The employees must avoid these causalities by wearing the proper protective clothing and equipment as specified in this Fact Sheet. The above-mentioned information is helpful to understand and know all about welding PPEs.
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