Welding PPE Guide

The Sealey Guide on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Welding

The bright light emitted by welding equipment can quickly damage your skin and eyesight. Wearing suitable personal protective equipment, or PPE, is essential.

This guide runs through the types of PPE equipment available.

Eye Protection

Oxyacetylene welding creates a less hazardous light and the rays emitted do not damage skin. So Gas Welding Goggles are suitable.

ARC, MIG and TIG welding create dangerous rays and a full faced mask is essential to provide adequate protection. Three types of mask are available:-

Hand Held Masks

These are held in the hand, which prevents the user from using both hands to weld. They are permanently darkened and must be moved out of the way to see the workpiece.

Headshield Masks

Headshield Masks sit like a helmet on the user’s head, leaving both the user’s hands free to hold welding torches and filler rods etc. They are permanently darkened and must be hinged upwards to see the workpiece.

Automatic Darkening Headshield Masks

These are now the most popular choice for welders. They have a viewing panel which is designed to darken automatically, as soon as the user strikes an arc. So there is no need tolift the mask out of the way to see the workpiece. The panel has rechargeable batteries, which are re-charged via a built in solar panel. The shade of darkness, sensitivity delay can all be adjusted to suit different types of welding. Many auto darkening masks have a grinding mode to enable the user to use the same mask to grind, without the sparks darkening the viewing panel.
Note: The bright light created by welders can injure anyone looking at the welding arc. If there is a potential for bystanders or workmates to enter into the work area, free standing welding curtains to screen off the area are available too.

Leather Welding Gauntlets, Hoods and Aprons

Fire proof overalls help protect users arms and bodies against sparks etc. But leather gauntlets are essential to allow heavy metal to be picked up without injury. Leather aprons and hoods offer similar protection too for the head, neck and abdomen.

Spark Proof Blankets

These are available to prevent damage and reduce the risk of fire. They are designed to be laid over vulnerable areas close to the area being welded.

Fire Extinguishers

Welding creates a great deal of heat and sparks which can ignite combustible materials, such as paint, underseal, soundproofing, upholstery and fuel etc. Therefore, a fire blanket and full size fire extinguisher are essential welding equipment.

Note: If you are working on a vehicle, always check the whole area to be welded, (including the inside of box sections) for fuel tanks and fuel pipes. Never weld anything which has contained gas or fuel. Fuel tanks are more dangerous when they are empty than when they are full, as the fuel vapour is more flammable than the fuel itself.

Welding Fumes

Welding fumes can cause respiratory problems. Dedicated disposable welding masks, which can be worn under a welding helmet are the ideal solution.

Check out our range of face and eye protection: