Welding can be very safe with the right protective equipment, but it’s very dangerous without it. A good welding jacket protects you effectively from the heat, flames and sparks that welding causesThe Need for Welding Jackets
When you’re standing close to a welding torch flame, it’s a good idea to wear the right safety clothing. Sparks and flames are a major safety issue, but not the only one. Your clothing also needs to withstand extreme heat as well as the possibility of hot slag being ejected. A welding jacket needs to be able to deal with all of that without melting or catching fire. There is also another threat that a high-coverage welding jacket protects against. Welding arcs give off ultraviolet radiation that can cause sunburn and skin cancer. Covering up helps to prevent this.Welding Jacket Materials
A welding jacket has to withstand high temperatures and flying sparks. Synthetics like polyester should be avoided because they tend to melt. Traditional welding jackets are made from thick leather or suede. It won’t melt or burn in the heat, and slag and sparks bounce off. On the downside, though, leather is heavy. A full-size welding jacket can weigh several kilograms. Combine that with its limited breathability and a leather jacket can be very uncomfortable in hot environments. The alternative is to wear a jacket made from special flame-resistant materials. This can be treated cotton, but other materials like aramid-rayon synthetic blends are also widely available and extremely effective. Nomex and Kevlar are both examples of aramid blendsTypes of Welding Jacket
A welding jacket is designed to cover the entire upper body as well as the arms to provide great all-over protection. Many welding jackets also have a high collar to protect the neck. Some welders prefer lighter protection, though, as a bulky welding jacket can restrict movement and tends to get hot. Welding aprons are much like a kitchen apron, only thicker and more flame-resistant. They cover the upper body, but not the arms or back, and can extend down to the knees. Welding bibs are similar to welding aprons but cover less, mostly the chest and neck. When wearing sleeveless protection like an apron, it is a good idea to also wear welding sleeves to protect your arms.Other Essential Welding Protection
A welding jacket isn’t enough on its own, not without other protective welding gear. It is also a good idea to wear welding gloves to protect your hands, one of the few areas left uncovered by a jacket. A helmet or goggles is essential in order to keep sparks out of your eyes and protect them from the extremely bright flame and its associated UV radiation. A respirator is also a good investment. The fumes given off by heated metals can cause very serious long-term health issues.