Clothing for Welding:
Welding cloth is one type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect welders from metal splatter and high heat by the use of fire resistant and thermally insulating materials. In May of 2008, The American Welding Society made several recommendations in regards to welding and cutting protective clothing. According to Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 33, welding apparel should allow freedom of movement, yet cover all areas of exposed skin. Long sleeve shirts and pants that overlap the tops of your boots are recommended. Fabric should be heavy cotton or wool and be free of holes, tears, and frayed edges. Welding dress should change immediately if water, grease, oil, or solvent is spilled on clothing.
Materials for Welding Cloth:
The best materials for welding clothing include the following:
While not optimal for welding operations, denim is a thick, rugged material that will protect welders in operations that are low in volume and intensity.
Cotton welding clothing provides economical protection from flame, sparks and molten splash. FR cotton has been chemically treated to withstand heat. Cotton fabric dresses are breathable, lightweight alternative to leather. Material remains flame resistant for up to 50 washings.
Welding leather clothing is made from premium heavy side split cow leather. Chrome tanned to assure softness and durability while resisting heat, sparks, slag and cuts. All seams are double lock stitched and sewn with Kevlar thread.
Rubber is not a material typical for welding jackets or caps, but does find use in welding chaps, boots, and boot covers.
Synthetic materials are a problem because they will melt and cause severe burns on your skin. Cotton clothing will be damaged by sparks and slag, but cotton will just smoulder.
Items of Welding Apparel
Welding jackets are typically quite heavy and are made of leather. They offer a significant amount of protection, but they aren’t necessarily the best choice for welding in a warmer climate. Jackets extend from the neckline to the waistline, while also providing sleeves for the welder’s arms. Collars will help guard the worker’s neck area. Half-jackets either do not terminate protection at the abdomen or do no protect the welder’s back. These are frequently sized by chest thickness.
Welding bibs are strapped around the neck, offer sufficient protection to the lower neck and upper chest, but zero protection anywhere else.
Aprons are not typically sized, but offer standardized lengths with adjustable neck straps. They offer sufficient protection from the chest to the knee, but do not cover shoulders or arms.
Leggings are sheaths meant for the protection of the shins only, similar to greaves. Denim is the most common material for leggings, and these usually employ a fastening mechanism such as a spring-loaded strap or Velcro.
Advantages for Welding Cloth:
- Welding cloth is made from heavyweight; tightly woven, 100% wool or cotton to protect from UV radiation, hot metal, sparks and open flames. Flame retardant treatments become less effective with repeated laundering.
- For wearing long-sleeved shirts with buttoned cuffs and a collar to protect the neck. Dark colours prevent light reflection.
- For wearing high top boots fully laced to prevent sparks from entering into the boots.
- For wearing fire-resistant boot protectors or spats strapped around the pant legs and boot tops, it prevents sparks from bouncing in the top of the boots.
- For wearing gauntlet-type cuff leather gloves or protective sleeves of similar material, it protects wrists and forearms. Leather is a good electrical insulator if kept dry.
- For wearing leather aprons it protect one’s chest and lap from sparks when standing or sitting.
- For wearing layers of clothing. It prevents sweating, avoid overdressing in cold weather.
- For wearing fire-resistant skull cap or balaclava hood under your helmet to protect your head from burns and UV radiation.
- For wearing a welder’s face shield to protect your face from UV radiation and flying particles.
Disadvantages for Welding Cloth:
- Sweaty clothes cause rapid heat loss.
- Leather welding jackets are not very breathable and can make you sweat if you are overdressed.
- For wearing clothing made from synthetic or synthetic blends. The synthetic fabric can burn vigorously, melt and produce bad skin burns.
Awareness for Welding Cloth:
- Keep clothing clean and free of oils, greases and combustible contaminants.
- Tape shirt pockets closed to avoid collecting sparks or hot metal or keep them covered with flaps.
- Pant legs must not have cuffs and must cover the tops of the boots. Cuffs can collect sparks.
- Repair all frayed edges, tears or holes in clothing.
- Remove all ignition sources such as matches and butane lighters from pockets. Hot welding sparks may light the matches or ignite leaking lighter fuel.
- Direct any spark spray away from your clothing.
- Do not wear rings or other jewellery.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.