What Is The Best Protection Against Welding Hazards?

What Is The Best Protection Against Welding Hazards?

The history of joining different metals together dates back to the Bronze Age. But it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the only welding process that existed was forge welding. Welding is a process that joins materials together by melting a metal piece with a filler metal to form a strong joint.

Today, the most common types of welding processes are:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), or Manual Metal Arc Welding (MMAW)
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), or Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), or Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding
  • Plasma Arc Welding (PAW), Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC) and Gouging
  • Resistance Welding (RW) or spot welding
  • Air Carbon Arc Cutting and Gouging
  • Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
  • Oxyfuel Welding, Cutting and Heating

Underwater welding

Underwater welding

Below is a table of safety hazards existing in different types of welding operations, and the recommendations on how to prevent injuries.

Welding Safety Hazards  and Protective Measures



Ergonomic Y Y Y Y Use proper lifting techniques, foot rest, knee pads, and take breaks, or frequently change position to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, minimize vibration, remove debris and clutter to avoid slips and falls
Electric Shock Y Y Y N Inspect electrode holder for damage, do not touch electrically “hot” parts inside the welder case, keep welding cable and electrode holder insulation in perfect condition, use insulated tools, wear Arc Flash clothing, aprons, FR glovesheadwear and footwear.
Bright Light Y Y Y Y Make sure you are wearing protective glasses with side shields, or a welding helmet with a dark lens.
UV Radiation Y Y N N Wear UV  protective clothing and headgear; the chart below indicates the correct lens shade numbers.
Toxic Fumes, Gases Y Y N Y Do not weld in confined spaces without ventilation,  stay upwind when welding outdoors; use respirators, portable exhaust systems: fans, fixed or removable exhaust hoods.
Fire, Burns, Heat Y Y N Y Inspect work area, remove any flammable materials, ensure access to fire hoses, sand buckets, fire extinguishers, wear a welding helmet, FR cotton, FR leather work clothes, do not roll up sleeves, wear pants over the top of leather work boots with 6-to-8-inch ankle coverage and metatarsal guards over the shoe laces.
Noise Y Y Y Y Define the appropriate hearing protection with the help of certified intrinsically safe sound meters. Use ear plugs or ear muffs in the environments with high levels of noise pollution.
Height (tower climbing) Y Y N Y When working at heights, prevent falls by using Arc Flash harnesses and lanyards.

Filter Lens Shade Numbers for Protection Against Radiant Energy

Welding Operation Shade Number
Shielded Metal-Arc Welding using 1/16, 13/32, 1/8 and 5/32 inch diameter electrodes 10
Gas-Shielded Arc Welding (nonferrous) using 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 and 5/32 inch diameter electrodes 11
Gas-Shielded Arc Welding (ferrous) using 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 and 5/32 inch diameter electrodes 12
Shielded Metal Arc Welding using 3/16, 7/32, and 1/4 inch diameter electrodes 12
5/16, and 3/8 inch diameter electrodes 14
Atomic Hydrogen Welding 10-14
Carbon-Arc Welding 14
Soldering 2
Torch Blazing 3 or 4
Light cutting, up to 1 in. 3 or 4
Medium cutting, 1-6 in. 4 or 5
Heavy cutting, over 6 in. 4 or 5
Light gas welding, up to 1/8 in. 4 or 5
Medium gas welding, 1/8-1/2 in. 5 or 6
Heavy gas welding, over 1/2 in. 6 or 8

The following OSHA standards are applicable to welding:

Sources of information:,

If you have questions or need help finding the right protection equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at

May 23rd 2016 Mila Adamovica

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