Does Welders Wear Flame-Resistant Clothing In Welding? Welders deal with fire and sparks on a daily basis. If you’re a welder or will soon be one, it is important for you to know more about a welder’s protective gear and clothing to get the most protection possible on the job. The first necessary step in welding, therefore, is choosing the correct protective apparel for yourself to get the job done. Safety, in any case, is non-negotiable because if fire breaches your clothing, you can end up severely injured.
Protective jackets, gloves, helmets, and other equipment keep welders safe from potential hazards on the job. Protective jackets act as a shield against fire and sparks that often occur in the line of duty. The jackets that welders wear are made with flame-resistant material, and through their protective capabilities, they are protected from molten metal, high heat or fire, and intense sparks. Exposure to these hazards is greatly reduced through flame-resistant clothing.
This guide will further elaborate on flame-resistant clothing in welding and inform you about everything there is to know regarding it.
What Is Flame Resistant Welding Clothing?
If you’re about to work as a welder, you will be given flame-resistant clothing to wear, as all utility workers wear these clothes to ensure protection against fire and electrical work. If this is your first time hearing about these clothes, then you might be thinking that these garments offer some immunity against flames, but this isn’t the case. Flame-resistant clothing only offers resistance against fire, limits its spread, and buys you enough time to escape the flames unharmed.
Flame-resistant clothing still burns, but when you’re at a safe distance away from heat exposure, the clothing will stop burning. Flame-resistant clothing is made with fire-resistant materials that are self-extinguishing. The materials used in these garments prevent the clothes from further burning.
If you have a flame-resistant shirt or jacket, then it means when you’re exposed to flames, you will have to pull away immediately, so the garment gets enough time to resist the damage and keep you safe.
What Is Flame Resistant Welding Clothing Usually Made Of?
The best quality flame-resistant clothing is made of materials that are naturally flame resistant. Such material is cotton. Cotton is naturally flame resistant, lightweight, cheap, and breathable. Flame-resistant fabrics are treated with chemicals that are “off-gas” when they get in contact with any heat sources. What this does is that it rids the area of oxygen, and if an area has no oxygen, there would be no combustion. Most fire-resistant cotton won’t catch fire, but it can be charred due to exposure to molten metal or sparks.
There are varying qualities of cotton available in the market for making FR clothing. Cotton that is of higher quality with a thicker, more durable base, will be more effective and comfortable for the FR garment. A good quality fire-resistant cotton welding jacket will provide good protection, will be cost-effective, and will be comfortable.
However, such a type of flame-resistant garment won’t provide enough protection for all welding applications. Some applications need garments that are more durable than what cotton has to offer. Nomex and Kevlar are some examples of materials that offer more durability and protection against fire and sparks compared to cotton.
Difference Between Flame Resistant And Flame Retardant Clothing
FR clothing is divided into two different groups. Fire or flame retardant and fire or flame resistant clothing are two slightly different things. They may sound a little similar, and their meanings might be a little similar, but they’re a bit different. So, what is different about these two?
The main difference between fire-resistant and fire retardant is that fire/flame retardant clothing or the fabric itself is entirely made from fire-resistant material. It’s not a layer or covering. The advantage of this kind of clothing is that no matter how many times you wash the garment, the garment won’t get any damage done to its protective finish.
Flame/fire retardant clothing and fabrics are coated with a layer of material that is resistant to fire. Flame retardant clothing is more vulnerable to damage because when its protective layer wears out, it will no longer be resistant to fire and will be just an ordinary garment.