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10 Welding Safety Tips

Learn welding safety tips from sculptor DeWitt Godfrey in this Howcast video.


So moving onto clothing and personal safety equipment. As I'm sure you can notice, I'm wearing a split leather cowhide welding jacket. As you can see, it protects my arms and buttons up tight at the neck and covers my torso. I also recommend heavy cotton pants or blue jeans. You want to have steel-toe work shoes. And I like to wear a turtleneck to protect my skin both from the rays of the arc welder and also from flying sparks.

The welding hat goes on backwards, comes down, protects the ears, your hair. And this funny flap in the back keeps those sparks from finding their way down the back of your collar. Some welders like to wear foot protection, particularly if you're doing a lot of cutting activity. These fit over the leg like so, and they come in different styles.

By far and away, the most important piece of safety equipment are your gloves. It's important to note that all of this safety equipment, and gloves especially, are heat-resistant. They're not flame-proof. So you don't want to ever put your hand straight into a flame even though you're wearing welding gloves. Gloves should fit well. You should check them to make sure that there are no holes or cracks. And gloves need to be replaced on a fairly regular basis, because the heat and oil from the steel cause the fingers to become stiff and make it very difficult to operate the machinery.

For oxygen acetylene welding or cutting, we use safety goggles such as these. These are tinted to protect your eyes from the bright light. They also have a safety lens to prevent any splatter from damaging your eyes. For arc welding, you need to have an arc welding hood. Very important to note that these safety glasses for oxygen acetylene will not protect you from the UV radiation generated by arc welding. This hood protects not only your eyes but also your skin from the high-frequency ultraviolet radiation that you would receive from an arc welder.

One thing you really want to remember about any welding process is that it generates extreme amounts of heat. Cutting with oxy-acetylene can generate temperatures in excess of 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Arc welding generates temperatures of over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Always wear your gloves. Always assume that everything in the shop could be too hot to touch. Remember not only the work but sometimes the worktop surface, device, even the crescent wrench and tools can absorb a tremendous amount of heat.

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