Whether you are new to welding or have been doing it for many years, you can't skimp on the safety equipment. As an experienced welder, you have most likely has found the gear that works best for you, but you still need to check it over before starting to weld and replace anything that is worn or damaged. If you are a new welder, you may be very cautious and plan on buying all the necessary safety gear, but here are a few things to take into account before heading to the welding supply store.
Welding gloves need to fit properly. They should be loose enough to get them off quickly, but still be formed to your hand and fingers so you have good control. In addition, you want to have a cuff on them. This will prevent sparks and molten balls that have bounced onto the glove from rolling down into your sleeve. At the first sign of any holes, be sure to replace your gloves.
Wearing goggles is not enough. The UV rays given off by the welding machine can burn your corneas. In addition, you can burn the skin on your face, even without having any materials fly and hit you. You need to be sure that the helmet and lenses are properly tinted to prevent eye damage. If it is a self-adjusting lens, be sure all the sensors are working correctly. Be sure to buy a helmet with a "test" button. Another important factor of your helmet is that it will close easily. You do not want to have to use your hands, and lose your welding spot, to pull the helmet down. You want one that will fall shut when you nod your head sharply.
Do not make the mistake of welding without the right type of fire extinguisher handy. Having a bucket of water around when you are using a machine that requires electricity; you may end up electrocuting yourself. It is also important to have the extinguishers serviced regularly, even if they have never been used.
Staying safe requires a bit of thought when welding. Before heading off to the welding supply store for more consumables, a new electrode, or to get your gas canisters filled, check over your safety equipment. Replace anything that shows too much wear or has holes. You don't want to end up at the emergency room because you have 3rd degree burns or can't see right.