What Kind of Clothes Should I Wear When Welding?

September 9th, 2019

100% Cotton; No Synthetics or Synthetic Blends Ever!

If you work in welding, it’s critical that you wear the right clothing to avoid being burned. When welding, wearing cotton is king!  Wear 100% cotton shirts. They are made out of completely natural fibers which are harder to catch on fire and easier to extinguish than synthetic fibers. 100% wool is also acceptable but tends to be too hot to wear when welding.

DO NOT wear clothing made from synthetic or synthetic blends. A welding spark can make synthetic fabric  burn vigorously, melt the fabric and produce bad skin burns.

Also, because welding can be such a hot task, it can be tempting to not wear all required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Wearing all recommended PPE is critical to avoid burns, injury and illness!

Remember, 100% cotton clothing is the most cool and breathable fabric there is, and the safest to wear when welding.

In addition to wearing cotton when welding, follow these additional welding safety tips from ABR’s insurance partner, Cottingham & Butler.

Welding Risk & Prevention
Some of the most common injuries associated with welding are related to the radiation given off by the arc. If the eyes are not
protected, the welder can suffer an eye burn known as weld-flash. Even a brief exposure to the arc radiation can result in weld-flash.
Because of this, weld-flash is not just a concern to welders but to anyone else who may be in the area. This condition can
result in pain to the eye, swelling, and temporary blindness. This is a temporary condition, but repeated exposure to the
radiation can result in long-term eye damage. The radiation can also cause skin burns. Repeated, excessive exposure can result
in skin cancer in the long-term.

Also hazardous are the fumes that are created while welding. A lot of variables determine the severity of this hazard, including
the type of welder used, the electrode, the base metal, any coating on the metal, and the environment where the welding is
being done. A common short-term effect of over-exposure to weld fumes is metal fume fever, which feels similar to the flu.
Additional hazards include noise, burns from slag and hot material, and electric shock from live electrical parts.

Protect Yourself
Following established safe work practices makes welding a safe task. First, always inspect your equipment prior to use. Ensure
the settings are correct and the equipment is in good condition. All connections must be tight, output terminals must be
insulated, and the electrode holder and welding cable must be well insulated. Ensure that your work area is free of any
flammable or combustible materials. If you are in an area not designated for hot work, you must have a hot work permit. Do
not weld in a damp or wet environment.

Next, wear all the necessary PPE. Protective clothing must be made of a material that will not burn or melt. The clothing must
cover all bare skin, as it is subject to burns from radiation and hot materials. Pants must be worn around your boots/shoes (not
tucked in) to prevent hot material from falling into your boot. Sleeves should also not be rolled up, as hot materials can catch in
the folds. Gloves should be made of a heavy material, often leather. The gloves, if in good condition, will protect against burns
and cuts. Those gloves must also be dry to help protect against electric shock.

A welding helmet of the appropriate shade for the type of welding that is being done must also be worn. A welding helmet
must always be worn, even when tack-welding. It is possible to get weld-flash even during this short period of time. Other
employees working in the area must also be protected from radiation. Welding curtains or PPE may be necessary to protect
them.

Hearing protection should be worn whenever welding. Not only will it help protect against the loud noise that can come with
welding, but also help prevent any hot material from entering your ear.

Weld in a well-ventilated area. If ventilation is not sufficient, a portable fume extractor may be necessary. If welding in a
confined space, additional precautions are necessary, including a confined space permit and air monitoring. Consult your
company’s confined space procedures.

Reporting An Unsafe Work Environment
ABR Employment Services and the companies we partner with to provide people jobs have a joint responsibility to keep our employees safe. If you work with welding equipment on the job, and have questions about protective equipment, contact your ABR Employment Representative immediately. We want to keep you safe and healthy!

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