You’ve probably never thought much about your welding coveralls, especially if you’re new to welding.
For you, they might be a piece of welder’s protective clothing required at the workplace. But, do you even know why you wear it? Or why is its design the way it is?
As we all know, welding involves working with and fabricating materials at very high temperatures. However, while welders make it look easy, it’s not hard to forget the risk of potential injury from hazards.
This is why understanding the purpose of welding protective clothing is vital to having accident-free welding processes.
For starters, let’s trace the roots of welding coveralls up to our present times.
The Brief History of Welding Coveralls
Forget today’s technology; welding is one of the ancient art forms. It spans from the olden days’ forge welding process to the present-day electric arc welding.
Likewise, the use of protective clothing dates back to the Middle Ages with blacksmiths. Other protective gear, like hard hats, we’re used by factory and construction workers.
Using welding coveralls was optional or by personal choice until the establishment of the OSHA. Then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration changed the landscape of workplace safety. The change originates from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
The primary intention was to protect you as a worker from a job-related injury, illness, and death. This brought the creation of mandatory regulations for workers’ protection and the proper introduction of personal protective equipment.
Since then, significant advancements in safety equipment and workplace standards, including specific job requirements, have continued to occur. So, wearing welding clothes developed from a need to keep workers safe.
How Did Welding Coveralls Change Over Time?
The significant difference between modern and ancient coveralls is in bulk and weight. This was a substantial challenge to employees, especially factory and construction workers.
At first, manufacturers designed welding coveralls to fully cover the body while being thick to withstand high heat and flames. This led to heavy, cumbersome garments that did work slow and restricted ease of movement.
However, recent modifications to welding coverall specifications mean there are lightweight, comfortable coveralls available.
Materials commonly used to make welding coveralls are cotton and leather, which are natural fibers. Leather is notably tough and resists abrasion and puncture. On the other hand, chemically treated cotton provides protection and comfort at a lower cost.
However, some drawbacks still exist with these materials in making welding overalls.
Leather is prone to heat stress and can be heavy and uncomfortable as a full-body garment. Also, leather welding coveralls readily absorb dirt and oil.
Meanwhile, flame-resistant cotton coveralls will not provide adequate protection in welding at much higher temperatures. Also, the durability of the welding protective clothing may be affected by extended washing.
The shortcomings in terms of washing led to the creation of the WeldX fabric. It’s a patented blend of oxidized acrylic and modern strengthening fibers. The fibers make WeldX 60% lighter than leather, more breathable and comfortable, and reduces the possibility of heat stress-related injuries.
Factors That Contributed to the Development of Welding Coveralls
Welding typically involves you dealing with materials at hot temperatures. This creates a whole lot of dangers for you and your fellow workers.
That’s brought about the advent of protective gear, like helmets, overalls, gloves, and protective eyewear. In addition, coveralls gained prominence as a result of the full-body coverage they offer.
With the introduction of workplace safety and welding coverall standards, significant changes to welding clothes also became inevitable. And advancement to fabric technology has also gained considerable traction.
Here are three reasons why welding coveralls have evolved:
The older generations of welding overalls limited easy movement in the workplace, thereby causing less productive workers. Therefore, there was a need for constructing better types of garments.
So, manufacturers created synthetic fabrics like Nomex and Kevlar with improved texture. Others created blends like Poly-cotton from existing natural fibers.
2. Industry Standards
As more innovative methods of welding developed, industrial regulating agencies came into existence. These were and are still responsible for setting and maintaining standards for safety in workplace environments.
Some agencies impose regulatory action against non-compliance to PPE standards, while others issue documents concerning requirements of proper welding clothing.
As protective workwear was developed for welders, it was also adopted by regular society. As such, other materials apart from cotton and leather were adapted for making welding coveralls. In addition, denim, rubber, and synthetics have found their uses, although in lesser operations.
Tips for the Beginner
If you’re new to using welding coveralls, here are some awesome things to know.
Wearing a comfortable coverall will keep everywhere between your head, hands, and feet safe. For the best quality, you’ll never go wrong with wearing leather welding coveralls. Some appropriate welding overalls are made of cotton too.
No matter your choice material, ensure you’re putting on flame-resistant welding coveralls.
Common welding coverall marks, like reflective tape, will help to keep you visible to other people during night work.
You now know what to do while wearing welding clothes. However, you need to know what to avoid doing to reduce potentially dangerous risks.
A synthetic welding smock is a no-no at all times. Why? Because you risk developing terrible skin burns from the melting fabric. We recommend you go for welding overalls made with natural fiber materials, like cotton or wool, or leather.
Do not roll up your sleeves or make cuffs with your leather welding pants. Slags, pieces of hot molten metal, may lodge in these spaces and cause burns.
Avoid wearing wet woolen or cotton coveralls, as well as any clothing with openings or gaps exposing your skin. Also, keep your welding suit free of combustible materials like oil or grease.
7 Reasons to Use Welding Coveralls
1. Less bodily harm
Wearing a welding suit protects your body from welding spatter and arc flashes that can lead to skin burns.
2. Reduced exposure to radiation
Welding overalls usually cover the whole body. This means no part of your skin is exposed. As a result, you’re less at risk of severe burning from ultraviolet light and infrared rays.
3. Compliance with safety standards
Any proper welding smock is designed to meet, or exceed, industry regulations on welding protective clothing. Getting the appropriate coveralls, therefore, contributes positively towards workplace safety.
4. Working in extreme weather
Welding coveralls typically provide warmth and are heat-resistant for working in cold climates. Also, you can get lightweight, breathable overalls to work in hotter conditions.
5. High visibility
Reflective tapes are arguably the most significant welding coverall marks. Meaning you’ll remain seen whether you work near vehicular traffic or in the nighttime.
6. Resistance to hazards
Standard welding clothes are generally a barrier between you and various hazards in the workplace. These include electric arc flashes, open flames, or ultraviolet radiation.
7. Comfort and fit
With the right fit, welding coveralls ensure you can move freely and weld without restrictions. Paired with breathable fabrics, they’ll keep your productivity levels high all day long.
Frequent Asked Questions(FAQs)
Q. What Is Coverall In Welding?
A. A coverall is a kind of personal protective equipment you put on during welding processes. A typical coverall welding suit is a full-body garment made with long pants and sleeves.
Primarily, this welding suit saves you from the potentially adverse effects of metal splashes and arc flashes. These are examples of common hazards you may encounter while welding materials together.
Q. What Are Welding Coveralls Made Of?
A. Usually leather or cotton. Other less common materials are rubber and denim.
Q. What Should You Not Wear While Welding?
A. Any clothing made with synthetic fabrics or materials having synthetic blends. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and poly-cotton can melt on your skin in the case of fire and result in burns.
You’ll also be better off without your rings or any jewelry. These can cause electric shocks while you’re working with metals or electrical welding equipment.
Q. How Do You Protect Yourself As A Welder?
A. Firstly, invest in good quality PPE. We’re talking about welding overalls, helmets, hand gloves, protective boots, among others. Likewise, make sure your working environment is clean, well ventilated, and free of clutter.
In addition, keep up to date with the best and most efficient practices of welding safety. Remember, staying safe is always a good idea.
Q. Are Coveralls Good For Welding?
A. Yes. Welding coveralls shield you from workplace hazards. As a bonus, you can wear them over your regular clothing when you need to do a quick job.
Welding is a fun and creative process but can be dangerous if you don’t protect yourself adequately. History has shown the importance of maintaining safety by using welding coveralls.
With the few tips we’ve given you, we hope you keep your workplace and your fellow workers safe.
But, more importantly, make sure you never work without your coverall welding suit.