Welding is practiced by persons from all walks of life. Different types of welding are required based upon the reason for the welding .There is MIG welding where there is fusing of aluminum, stainless steel or mild steel; TIG welding which requires a more advanced finishing surface and therefore a greater level of expertise; arc welding, used to manufacture and repair metal equipment; and Oxy Acetylene welding which as the name suggests mixes oxygen and acetylene gas to generate very hot flames which can cut through steel. Regardless of the type of welding required there is the universal need to be protected from the hazards associated with this trade. One means of protecting the body is to wear a welding jacket, leather being the material of choice from which to make it because leather has been found to offer better protection than most other materials.
Given the premise that every welding format presents risks to the welder’s health, a look at the most common types of injuries to a welder reveals that burns resulting from sparks landing on the skin, as well as damage to the eyes from heat and light feature at the top of the list. Also common are injuries due to flying metal parts, fumes and gas leaks which result in explosions. This is not surprising since there is always exposure to sparks, hot metals, electric shock and harmful ultra violet and infra red radiation. This reinforces the need for the welding practitioner to wear safety glasses, safety shoes, gloves and a helmet. Indeed some training institutions actually highly recommend the wearing of an overall which covers most of the body parts.
By all means protective gear made from synthetic materials should be avoided because they melt on impact with splashes of flame and this can cause serious injuries. (Not so protective after all) Denim and leather are very heat resistant. One does have to consider the environmental conditions here though since it will be somewhat uncomfortable to wear a full denim jacket all day in a hot climate. Conversely if the weather is cooler or cold then full leather or denim suits would be desirable and would even provide warmth.
With the welder’s body being covered with an overall, one cannot forget the hands and feet. Depending on the type of welding being carried out there are different considerations for glove makeup. Precision TIG welding with its inherent need for dexterity requires a glove that should be made of sensitive, thin leather. MIG welding on the other hand where there may be more sparks flying, requires gloves made from thicker, less sensitive leather.
Foot protection should not be forgotten. Here the higher up the boots, the more protection offered. The guiding principle here is that one should strive for both foot safety as well as comfort. High top leather shoes and boots have proven to be among the best for this duty. Strict adherence to safety requirements will help to reduce the risks and hazards associated with welding.