Welding work presents a lot of hazards. Workers need to keep their eyes, face, and skin protected against infrared light, ultraviolet light, debris, sparks, and intense heat from reaching their skin. Welding can result in a condition called photokeratitis, which is a sunburn to the eye, along with other injuries to the skin and face. These hazards make welding safety protection essential and necessary.
What type of protection will you need for your worksite or project? For most welding jobs, you need more protection than welding safety glasses alone. Safety glasses are recommended for cutting, grinding, or brazing, and they offer a minimal amount of protection against sparks, light, particles, and sometimes impact. Welding hoods and helmets—terms that are often used interchangeably—offer more all-around protection, but each has its ideal application. Here’s a breakdown of the differences and benefits of each type of PPE.
Welding hoods are a good option for those that don’t want anything especially fancy from their PPE but still need protection from welding hazards. They’re one of the most common types of welding protection on the market, and with good reason: they’re reliable and get the job done. Welding hoods are simple pieces of gear with a fixed shade, passive protection lens. This lens usually comes in a number 10 shade, but this number can vary based on manufacturer. The lenses are coated to protect against ultraviolet ray emissions, and the helmet can flip up or down so that you can easily look at your work without having to fully remove your gear. Because of this simple operation, they’re very affordable, the replacement lenses are comparatively cheap, and there are no technical controls to master or batteries to replace. However, they’re difficult to use in confined spaces because of the lack of room to lift the helmet up and down, and they can cause neck strain and discomfort if used repeatedly.
Welding helmets are specialized PPE that offer protection from welding and more specialized protection than a welding hood. By default, they have less visibility and more weight than some other options because they’re somewhat bulkier. However, they’re useful for any type of welding involving arcs because they protect the entire face and the eyes from light bursts, sparks, heat, debris, and gasses. This is due to the controls and filtered lenses. Wearers can configure their helmets to suit their personal comfort and job, and darkening filters in variable shades can automatically detect bright lights and adjust the lenses without the wearer needing to react. This increases productivity and protection, especially because it provides more optimized protection against flashes than a fixed-shade hood that can’t react to those changes. Welding helmets can also incorporate features like auto-darkening, controllable sensitivity settings, different sensors and sensor placements, solar or battery power options, and multiple filter options to suit your jobs. This can all add to your comfort and safety, but they come at a higher price point. When it comes to safety, though, the overall protection you get from a helmet is definitely worth your money.
PK Safety Equipment for All Welding Applications
Our safety experts are here to help you and your team find the safety supply gear that’s best-suited for your job, as well as the expert advice to ensure that you’re using it properly. We have welding hoods and helmets from the most trusted brands in the industry for a variety of jobs. If you want more information, our website and blog are great resources. You can still contact us online or by phone at 800.829.9580 if you need to talk to one of our safety experts.