Welding is a popular method of joining metals using equipment operated in high temperature, pressure, or both. It melts a particular section of a metallic rod or objects and creates another joint which is equally as strong as the original pieces from which the joints are formed.
It may seem like a very straightforward task, but there are general hazards that welders are exposed to. These include heat and light radiation, harmful dust and fumes, impact, and penetration.
Aside from getting arc flashes, the smoke that is released from the burning of metal contains toxic substances that have short- and long-term damages to a person’s health. The welder is also exposed to certain injuries such as burns and even electric shock. That being said, welding can, therefore, be considered a dangerous job.
In order to minimize or avoid injuries and health risks caused by welding, it is important that every welder is well-informed about the welding safety precautions. Although most of these instructions are very much common sense, one can’t be too confident.
Welding Safety Instructions
The workshops wherein you will be conducting welding and other fabrication works must be inspected thoroughly. It is important that a functional ventilation system is installed in the area.
This is to effectively get rid of the fumes and harmful dust that is released during the welding. There should be fire extinguishers available in the area for any emergencies, and all combustible substances must be located 35 feet away or farther, or they must be properly shielded from any stray spark.
The most important thing that every welder should consider is wearing proper protective equipment while working. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment or PPE must be observed at all times.
These include long sleeved clothing, comfortable working pants, leather gloves, and, of course, welding helmets or face shields.
A welder’s Personal Protective Equipment or PPE consists of a few things, but the most important of all is the welding helmet. It offers eye and face protection by blocking UV or Infrared rays.
It also protects the face and neck from direct heat from the arc. More importantly, the helmets also keep the fumes and harmful dust from being inhaled by the welder.
Out of all the required PPE for welders, the helmet is also the most challenging one to pick because there are a lot of options to choose from. If you are looking for one right now and you want to know how to choose the product that will best suit your needs, here are a few pointers that you will definitely find useful.
What to Look For when Choosing A Welding Helmet
Type of Lens
If you have been welding for a while and you have used a few different types of helmets, you probably already have a preferred type of lens, It is the main component that you need to consider when choosing a welding helmet.
There are two different types of lenses that you can choose from – auto-darkening and Standard Glass.
- Standard Glass lenses, also known as passive lenses, are the most common and inexpensive type of lens for welding helmets. They are usually made of dark tinted glass coated with a material that has anti-UV or infrared properties.
- Auto-darkening lenses are more advanced and therefore more expensive. It has electronic filter lens that works with light sensors, automatically adjusting according to the surrounding light. It makes welding a lot more convenient because it removes the need for constantly flipping the helmet up.
There is more than just one type of welding processes. For each of these processes, welders are required to use a specific type of lens. Fortunately, there are welding helmets which offer versatility such that it can be used for more than just one welding process.
Standard Glass lens helmets come with fixed shade and do not offer as much versatility as helmets with the auto-darkening lens. Mid-range to high-end category welding helmets have the variable shade feature which allows them to switch between tasks such as MIG, TIG, or plasma welding.
Sensitivity and Responsiveness
More and more people prefer to use professional level auto-darkening helmets because it provides them maximum functionality. Some welding helmet models allow sensitivity control which is very useful when they weld at low amperages.
A helmet that has high sensitivity and responsiveness is the best one to choose.