Workplace Best Practice: Do Gas Masks Protect You From Welding Fumes?

Safety in the workplace is paramount, to protect you from an injury or illness that might be found in your course of work. In metalwork welding fumes are inevitable, gas masks are the only protective gear for welders. Who would want to contract a disease or an injury from his/her workplace? Absolutely no one.

 In light of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Act law was put in place to create safer workplace conditions. Precautions should, therefore, be taken to prevent illnesses and injuries at workplaces.

Welders are exposed to fumes during cutting of iron and steel and toxic gases, which are a mixture of silicates, fluorides, metallic vapors. They can cause serious illnesses especially due to prolonged exposure.  Care must thus be taken to eliminate or at least reduced the harm they might cause to the user by a high degree. It is a protection standard recommended by the World Health Organization. since the vapors and gases can be inhaled, they can be blocked by a simple gas mask of N95. The gases and vapors can cause serious ailments in the respiratory tract.  Gas masks are sealed to cover over the nose, mouth, eyes and other soft parts of the face, to prevent both inhalations of toxic gases, and injuries that might be caused by sparks released during welding. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on the nature of the work, the intensity, and how long the work will be done.

Welding helmets are also used as protective gear. It is one of the most useful and needed equipments for any welder. It has special features like goggles and a shield for the protection of the eyes and face from heat and sparks generated from the welding materials. They use batteries.  For those that use batteries, replacement of the batteries is part of the routine maintenance of the helmets. Tell-tale signs for replacement of batteries is when it is unable to adapt well to light changes.

The protective shield is unable to auto darkening, thus exposing you to brighter light, hence affecting your eyes. Battery replacement should be done regularly to maintain high protective standards. Each welding helmet that uses battery has an instruction manual on how to change the batteries, the user must read carefully before starting the procedure and maintain high levels of care not to destroy the helmet and also protect oneself.

Welders are exposed to so much danger while discharging their duties.

The dangers include inhalation of toxic fumes and physical injuries due to sparks and heat generated during welding. Their safety must be guaranteed by the availability of protective gear and education of proper use of them to wipe out any risk of injury or illnesses caused by the harm posed to them. Gas masks, welder helmets, aprons, and heavy-duty gloves amongst others should be made available to the welders for their own safety.