Practising a regulation level of health and safety in the workplace is not only a smart choice but a statutory requirement.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 is a specific guide adapted from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This Act outlines that it is the duty of every employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of every employee.
The provision and use of PPE, although the final form of protection, is essential in an industrial workplace — especially for welding shops where lots of hazards are present.
In this guide, we’ll cover why welding PPE is essential and what equipment you require to protect your employees in the workplace.
Why is protective equipment important when welding?
Fumes, flames, flying projectiles, extreme environments — these are just a few of the health risks associated with welding equipment. Although every measure should be made to eradicate these hazards where possible, PPE can help you to be confident your employee welfare is protected.
Welding without PPE leaves employees exposed to common welding risks such as carcinogenic welding fumes, high temperatures and aggressive airborne particles. By choosing not to supply appropriate PPE, or even failing to educate employees on why they should use it, workers are inviting damage to vital organs such as the eyes, lungs and skin.
It’s hard to anticipate accidents, which is why it’s essential to be prepared for them with the right protective welding equipment.
Failing to comply with regulations can not only lead to a poor business image but should employees become ill/injured then you are directly responsible. This comes with its own set of consequences.
In the long run, if inadequate protection is provided and employees become sick it can lead to long periods of inconsistency and downtime. Ultimately this has an impact on both overhead and outputs.
Supplying PPE also lets your employees know that you’re aware of the importance of their safety. This can improve their thoughts about their treatment from the business and make them feel valued.
Best PPE Equipment for Welding
As welding can expose workers to so many hazards, it’s important to do a proper evaluation of the risks present in the workplace and select your PPE based on the risk assessment. For example, if your welding occurs in a wide-open, well-ventilated area then your employee won’t need such an advanced piece of respiratory protective equipment.
Below are several essential types of PPE that we believe are necessary for most welding situations.
Common forms of PPE for welding are the headshield or face screen. Welding head shields and welding helmets are perhaps the most iconic symbol of the welding profession.
The two types of headshield are the advanced headshield and manual passive headshields. Passive headshields do not have technological additions and are much more traditional. They are similar to face shields but offer more coverage around the face and neck as the material is wider and more rectangular.
The advanced headshields are a revolutionary addition to the range of PPE not offered for welders. PWP’s range of 3M headshields provides uncompromised protection against respiratory and optical workplace hazards.
Speedglas headshields are fitted with auto-darkening screens to protect the eyes against bright exposure during the weld. With protection against glare and projectiles, this solution is great for visual protection and covers the whole of the head like a helmet to keep sensitive skin protected.
Face screens and welding masks are different from headshields as they do not cover as much of the head. They are most frequently made from a visor and a headpiece that keeps the face screen secure. Inside the face screen, there is usually a face seal that keeps a flush fit against the skin and prevents fumes and projectiles from flying toward the face from the chin area. The Vitrex Combination model also offers auditory protection.
It’s important to note that face screens can also be paired with head, shoulder and neck covers for more protection.
All headshields and face screens should be fitted for the wearer. Where adjustments can’t be made to PPE, fit testing should take place to make sure an individual has a proper fit.
Fumes are a hazard that falls under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). An influx or overload of fumes in the welding workplace can not only have a long-term adverse impact by evolving cancerous cells but can, in some cases, cause asphyxiation.
Fume extraction equipment will remove hazardous fume before they can reach dangerous levels in a welder’s lungs.
PWP’s range of fume extraction machines is available in fixed and mobile styles, to go with your employees onsite when the welding environment changes.
Do you already have a fume extraction system? Is it thoroughly examined by a competent person at least every 14 months? This is a legal requirement.
Gloves & Gauntlets
Skin is sensitive and even the smallest projectiles can cause severe irreversible damage. For welders, their hands are vital for the trade and they shouldn’t be subjected to a potentially preventable injury.
Welding causes a lot of sparks and even though most extinguish in the air, should a projectile or flame fall on the skin, it can lead to blistering and open wounds. Welding also brings welders into contact with sharp objects and metals.
Protective gloves and gauntlets can be the PPE solution to help reduce these risks.
We supply cut level 5 gloves high cut resistant fibres blended with soft nylon and other synthetic yarns to produce an ergonomically tested, close-fitting and extremely comfortable glove. This premium glove is further enhanced with a durable and dextrous unique NitraDry foam nitrile palm coating that offers good mechanical protection in a variety of handling situations.
Where to buy welding PPE
At PWP, we want to make the welding industry the best it can be. Our vision is to put the best quality equipment into the hands of welders and that includes ensuring that welders have the appropriate PPE to keep themselves protected.