Welders are employed in numerous repair shops, production plants and other workplaces. Due to the nature of their work, they are exposed to specific health and safety risks. This is why it is so important to provide appropriate personal protective equipment, including protective clothing.
The most dangerous factors in the welder’s work that we should take into consideration:
- ultraviolet radiation of the optical arc (visible and thermal), which may cause blindness or burns;
- heat, i.e. the risk of burning with welded parts, blowpipe flame or molten metal splashes and the risk of electrocution caused by an electric arc;
- emission of dusts and gases, which are released during welding and can lead to acute poisoning and respiratory diseases of the operator;
- very high noise.
In order to guarantee the highest possible level of safety, the employer should equip welders with flame retardant protective clothing and other personal protective equipment designed for this job. Such clothing is made of cotton and polyester-cotton materials with flame retardant impregnation, e.g. Proban®. Coveralls, aprons, sleeves, foot protectors, helmet shields as well as jackets and trousers for welders must comply with the applicable requirements of EN ISO 11611. We should keep in mind that the standard covers two safety classes: 1 i 2 – depending on the welding method and work conditions.
In addition to flame retardant clothing, it is also necessary to provide personal protective equipment for welders, such as head screens, hoods and shields for face and eyes protection, special welding gloves, as well as appropriate footwear which protects against impacts and heavy materials falling on feet and is resistant to small splashes of molten metal, flames and high temperatures. Other guards in the form of aprons or shoulders, traditionally made of leather, are also required. Currently, special flame retardant fabrics with polymer coating are used for their production. They have replaced leather and are suitable for industrial washing.
When assembling a welding outfit, it is necessary to choose certified clothing, personal protective equipment and footwear. This ensures compliance with applicable standards and is a guarantee of safety.