The welding helmet is one of the most iconic tools for welders, yet some still choose not to wear this essential piece of safety equipment. It doesn’t matter if you’re kitted out with every other critical piece of safety gear — protecting your face while working is still extremely important. Even expert welders should always wear a helmet.
We’ll provide you with vital information on how welding helmets, like the lincoln welding helmet, protect you and explain why—although the helmet may be uncomfortable—it’s still a necessity.
Why Is a Welding Helmet Important?
Welding is one of the most dangerous jobs, which should come as little surprise. After all, welding involves molten metal, dangerous high-temperature workpieces, and an extremely hot welding torch. In light of this, it’s important to protect every inch of your body from the dangers of welding.
More specifically, you need to protect your body from the risk of molten metal touching your skin. Molten metal can cause severe burns and damage to your body. Your face has some of the most delicate parts of your body, particularly your eyes. While it may be tempting to forgo the welding helmet for the sake of visibility, it’s essential to keep this piece of equipment firmly in place on your head until you finish working.
It Protects Your Eyes
First and foremost, your eyes are at the most significant risk of injury from the heat and splatter that can occur while welding. Welding eye injuries may encompass the following:
- Flying chip slag or particles
- Radiation or photochemical burns
- Chemical burns and irritation
The fumes, chemicals, blue light, infrared radiation, and ultraviolet light can all damage your eyes. These injuries are no joke; to avoid them, you should avoid being complacent in the workplace.
Sometimes, welders take off their eye protection due to damaged lenses or just general discomfort. In some cases, welders need special prescription lenses to see clearly, which is difficult to accommodate under a welding helmet.
Despite these concerns, you should keep the helmet on since it’s designed from pressed metal with a dark screen to protect you from the above-mentioned nasty chemicals and radiation that can quickly damage the sensitive eye. Pair a helmet with the proper eye goggles for the best protection and a reduced risk of long-term eye damage.
Protection for the Face and Neck
Naturally, a helmet isn’t just about eye protection. It also covers the entirety of your head and neck, both of which are susceptible to the same risk of flying particles, chip slag, or other debris. The intense heat from welding can also burn the skin on your face and neck, making it essential to keep the helmet on for a reduced risk of injury.
It Improves Visibility
Depending on the type of helmet you have, it can improve your visibility while you are working closely with the welding torch. A passive helmet keeps the lens dark, helping your eyes adjust to the brightness of the welding torch when it’s on.
They’re generally lightweight, making them manageable while working; however, they can be a little frustrating between welding attempts because you can’t easily see your workspace with the helmet on. As such, you may need to remove the helmet to inspect the weld or during specific welding processes.
On the other hand, an auto-darkening helmet becomes the appropriate shade for proper eye protection as you start to weld. Some models allow you to adjust the level of darkening, allowing for different light levels depending on the weld piece you are working on. Welding helmets vary by sensitivity to light (for auto-darkening filters).
They Provide a Customized Viewing Area
Welding helmets also come with a variety of options in the visor. Some helmets provide more visibility to the weld and weld area, while others have a narrower field of focus, allowing the wearer to concentrate on the weld itself.
There’s no clear ‘better’ option, but it might be wise to try on both to see which one fits your needs better. Remember, the goal is to balance comfort with practicality, so choose one that keeps you safe and makes your work environment suited to your needs.
They’re a Requirement in Most Weld Shops
If you’re working in a welding shop, you will likely be required to have a welding helmet. Supervisors must police the wearing of these weld helmets for worker safety. Whether you’re subcontracting for a welding shop or looking to start your own, it’s worth getting into the practice of wearing an appropriate helmet to acclimate to the method should you ever do any welding projects in an official workshop. Of course, it’s also a wise idea to accustom yourself to wearing one for the simple benefit of safety.
Most welders who choose not to wear helmets do so because they find them uncomfortable. While it’s fair to say that welding masks are a little cumbersome, modern ones on the market are much more amenable to worker comfort. They allow reduced heat flow, provide better support for the head, and allow better circulation.
Welders face many challenging jobs and fine-line work, so, understandably, some choose to avoid wearing their helmets. Nonetheless, it’s important not to skip this essential piece of worker safety equipment. It might not be the most practical piece of equipment, but modern welding helmets are much better than they used to be and are a more practical solution for worker comfort.
The Bottom Line
Welding helmets are a crucial piece of equipment for any type of welder. Regardless of experience or preference, they should be worn to mitigate the risk of damage to the eye, face, head, and neck, in addition to other safety equipment. The extreme heat produced by the welding torch is no joke, and you should treat it with respect.To that effect, the welding helmet provides adequate protection. It even offers some other features, such as a customized focus area and a darkened lens to help the eyes adjust to the brightness during welding.