Why Do Welders Wear Masks? All You Need To Know

Why-Do-Welders-Wear-Masks

Have you ever wondered why welders wear masks?

Welding is a lucrative and fun trade, but it can also be a very dangerous one. Fortunately, both welding companies and the federal government have laws in place to protect welders from damages that might occur while you’re working on your next project.

Part of this effort involves the gear you have to wear, including your mask or helmet. But, just why do welders wear these masks?

Why do welders wear masks? welders wear masks or helmets to protect their face, eyes, and neck from numerous dangerous scenarios, including not only heat and sparks, but also UV light, infrared light, and even flash burns.

These helmets can feel cumbersome when you put them on and maybe even a bit uncomfortable, but they are a very important piece of equipment that should be worn every single time you weld.

Introduction

Fortunately, most welding shops will not let you work unless you agree to use all of the gear that’s needed to be safe while welding, and this includes a welding mask.

✔️ One of the things welders understand is that there are many aspects of a welding job that can directly affect their safety while they work.

There are gases and fumes that can make them very ill, and their exposure to different chemicals and hazards depends on what type of work they’re doing, base metals, contaminants, and coatings, not to mention the rod and the filler metals.

If the amount of ventilation isn’t sufficient, these scenarios can be even more unsafe.

✔️ Even today, the experts aren’t familiar with everything there is to know when it comes to welding fumes and how to protect welders from these fumes.

Nevertheless, each workplace practices certain protocols to greatly reduce the odds of their workers becoming injured or getting sick.

After all, the fumes from your typical welding job have lots of dangerous chemicals in them, including fluorides, metallic oxides, and silicates.

But this is only part of the danger, because things such as solvents, paints, rust inhibitors, and various types of coatings can also be found on the metal that’s being welded, which exposes welders to even more dangers.

✔️ Welding masks don’t just protect you from sparks and UV light, they can also prevent the cornea of your eyes from becoming inflamed.

This is a condition called arc eye, and it is possible to suffer from it if you leave your eyes unprotected as you work.

Types of Welding Masks

✔️ Not only is it smart to wear a welding mask as you work, but it is equally important to wear the right type of mask.

You should never just rush out and buy a work mask because you’ll need one that is specifically made for the welding profession.

✔️ Most of today’s welding masks have a lens shade, which is essentially a window that the welder looks through as he or she works.

The windows are usually made out of tinted glass, tinted plastic, or even polarized lenses called a density filter.

In fact, protective shields are imperative when you’re looking for the right welding mask, because without them the mask simply won’t protect you like it should.

✔️ Below are some of the types of welding helmets on the market today, and the descriptions should help you decide which one to purchase for yourself.

Auto-darkening welding helmets

These are great helmets because they detect the amount of light you’re working with and automatically adjust the amount of darkness in your helmet so that it is always what you need.

They are a step up from previous helmets that you had to adjust manually. They are, however, a bit on the pricy side.

Battery-powered welding helmet

These helmets usually use some type of lithium battery that lasts a very long time, and many welders prefer this type of helmet over ones that are operated by solar energy.

You do have to replace the batteries with these types of helmet, but the batteries tend to last quite a while so you shouldn’t have to do it very often.

Fixed-shade lens welding helmet

Also called a “dad’s helmet” because it is often used by DIY enthusiasts for a variety of home projects, this helmet is perfect if you plan to work on the same type of project for a while.

The lens does not adjust to the amount of light you’re exposed to but stays the same shade, but they are affordable and efficient nonetheless.

Passing welding helmets

This is a basic welding helmet without all of the bells and whistles; nevertheless, it is a very good helmet when you want to protect yourself from flying debris and extreme heat.

They are also very affordable, so people on a budget will appreciate them.

Solar-powered lens welding helmet

This is another type of auto-darkening welding helmet that relies on solar energy to keep it working.

While some welders love it, others do not because you have to keep it in the sunlight regularly to make sure it continues working properly.

Variable-shade lens welding helmet

This helmet adjusts the amount of darkness that the lens provides.

This is especially useful if you’re working on a project where the light is actually too bright.

This type of mask can increase the welder’s field of visibility tenfold, making it a very valuable piece of equipment.

Conclusion

Welders certainly wear a lot of protective gear, but their mask or helmet is the most important one in many ways.

Not only do they protect you from heat and sparks, but also from UV and infrared radiation, fumes, and various chemicals always found in any welding project.

One important tip when it comes to wearing a helmet for your welding projects is this: if you’re working on a project at home and think you don’t need a helmet, think again.

There are so many things that can go wrong when you weld something without wearing a helmet, making this a must for any size or type of welding job.

Considering how difficult it is not to wear a helmet – your place of employment will likely require it and it can prevent a ton of dangerous scenarios from occurring – you’re better off just going by the rules, because in the end this is a decision you’ll never regret.

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David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at weldingtroop.com. David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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