This is the next installment of a monthly Welding Resources series. In this series, we’ll be covering key topics relevant to welding and welders. Rather than providing one narrative article detailing a specific tip, procedure, or issue, these Welding Resources posts are meant to serve as a consolidated list of the top online resources for the given topic.
For this month’s welding resources column, we’ll be discussing welding safety gear- a follow-up topic to a previous month’s column on safety resources. Welding isn’t necessarily a dangerous activity, but safety gear is of utmost importance to protect your body – and those of anyone around you – from possible dangers. You are playing with gases, sparks, and electrified metals, after all! Note that this is not an exhaustive list of safety gear options, but it covers the basics. A future welding resources column will detail more specialized safety gear options for the savvy welder.
Generally, the first rule of safety in any environment is to “protect your head,” and in this regard, welding is no different. The welding helmet is a crucial element of welding safety – it protects your skin, eyes, and hair from the high heat and sparks that welding produces, and it’s always a good idea to protect your skull when working in a shop of any sort. Welding helmets cover the full face and include a viewing window that shields the eyes from the bright sparks. To learn more about selecting the right helmet, read this WeldMyWorld.com post on choosing welding helmets.
The most popular brands for welding helmets include the following, and you can find a wide selection of all of them for a great price at BakersGas.com:
Along with being bright and hot, welding is loud. Most welding helmets will provide some sound blocking, but not enough to take care of your hearing for the long term. The threat of hearing damage is very real for welders, especially career welders or avid hobbyists who spend a lot of time in the shop. Good hearing protection is essential to preserve your hearing well into the future – once you lose it, there is no way to regain your hearing.
Disposable Ear Plugs
- Sperian Howard Leight MAX – These disposable earplugs receive consistently high reviews. They can be purchased with a cord or without.
- Moldex – The moldable sponge Moldex ear plugs also get good reviews. The disposable ones come in an assortment of colors and styles, including corded and uncorded.
- E-A-R – The third most well-known disposable ear plug is E-A-R by Aearo. They're available in a huge assortment of shapes, but generally these ear plugs are either loved or hated, so it may be worth getting a pair of disposables from a buddy before committing to an entire box.
Protective Ear "Muffs"
Depending on the type of welding helmet you’re wearing, you may be interested in wearing full-coverage ear muffs instead of ear plugs. These can often be found at sporting goods stores and military surplus shops.
While welding, your clothing should cover all skin and be buttoned up and form-fitting, not loose. Ideally, your welding clothing is flame-resistant. Welding aprons are also a good idea for protecting yourself from burns and even explosions.
The top welding bibs and aprons are produced by Tillman and Black Stallion. Other popular brands include Miller and Lincoln.
The type of gloves you wear for welding is determined by the type of welding you'll be doing. Each form of welding has its own welding safety gloves, and it's best to know what you're getting into before purchasing.