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    Best respiratory protection when welding galvanised steel

    A question we often get asked is ‘what sort of protection do I need when welding galvanised steel?’ Everyone knows the danger of welding fumes from gal – with the health effects ranging from headaches, cramping and nausea to metal fume fever and respiratory diseases.

    Galvanised steel gives off dangerous zinc oxide particles when welded. As mentioned in the AWS Welding Fume White Paper released earlier this year, welding fumes have been reclassified from ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ to ‘carcinogenic to humans’. It has never been more important for welders (and their respective employers) to review their workplace safety controls. Respiratory protection and good ventilation are a necessity!

    What protection do you actually need?

    P2 level protection and a Required Minimum Protection Factor (RMPF) relevant to the Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) referenced in the relevant Safety Data Sheet and understanding of your work environment. P2 rated respirators protect against thermally generated particulates (which includes those given off when welding galvanised steel). You may also notice an odour or sour taste from the fume – if so, using an additional odour filter will help.

    What are my options?

    GOOD: Disposable Respirators

    The 3M 9322A+ mask gives you P2 protection and fits comfortably under your welding helmet. It features a Cool Flow valve which reduces heat and moisture build-up, keeping you cooler. If you require odour protection also, we recommend choosing a Reusable Respirator instead. Disposable respirators give you a Required Minimum Protection Factor (RMPF) of 10 meaning that if worn correctly the air you breathe will be 10 times cleaner than you would be breathing with no protection.

    BETTER: Reusable Respirators

    Reusable Respirators are comfortable and more versatile, with a range of separate filters which can be stacked on to the mask. This configuration lets you combine particulate, filter or odour protection to suit your environment. For Speedglas 9100 customers, the 3M 7528 Welding Respirator Kit gives you everything you need to get started. If you use a Speedglas 100 Series helmet, the 3M 6528 Welding Respirator Kit can be used. Reusable respirators give you an RMPF of 10 meaning that if worn correctly the air you breathe will be 10 times cleaner than you would be breathing with no protection.

    BEST: Powered Air

    A powered air system is a belt-mounted respirator which provides welders with fresh, clean air by filtering out harmful particles, odours or gases. The Adflo PAPR range has different filters which can be ‘stacked on’ to give you flexible gas, odour or particle protection. The Adflo system is used in conjunction with the Speedglas 9100XXi Series of welding helmets, with a range of helmet configurations available. Powered air respirators give you an RMPF of 50 meaning that if worn correctly the air you breathe will be 50 times cleaner than you would be breathing with no protection.

    Check out our range of 3M Disposable Respirators

    See the range of 3M Reusable Respirators

    View the Speedglas 9100XXi Welding Helmets with Adflo PAPR

    3M Speedglas 9002NC: A Lightweight Welding Helmet at your Fingertips

    3M Speedglas 9002NC: A Lightweight Welding Helmet at your Fingertips

    A lightweight welding helmet, crisp colours, large viewing area and a slim profile. Sound a bit too good to be true?

    3M have recently released the new 3M Speedglas 9002NC welding helmet which gives you all of the above. The helmet sees the return of the classic Speedglas 9000 welding helmet shape, preferred by welders worldwide for its slim, streamlined shape and lightweight shell. It was this original helmet that many welders associate with welding helmet quality – highlighted by the signature Speedglas silver front.

    The new Speedglas 9002NC helmet is lightweight at just 485 grams, making it more comfortable to wear over a long period of time. The narrow, slim-profile makes it perfect for welding in tight spaces

    Combine this with an upgraded auto-darkening lens with a massive 55 x 107mm viewing area and the Speedglas ‘True-View’ and you’re onto something pretty great.

    True-View technology is what really sets this hood apart from its famous predecessor, the Speedglas 9002X. Instead of seeing through a green welding lens, you now get to view your welds in more colour and contrast, helping to see contours and edges more easily. The crisp viewing through the auto-darkening lens helps improve precision, meaning less time spent grinding or starting again. Less time spent fixing mistakes means more productivity!

    With a light shade of 3 and shades 8-12 the 9002NC covers you for most welding applications, and shade upgrade plates are available to increase your dark shades (by +1 or +2). Overall we reckon this is a pretty decent lid – and the upgraded auto-darkening lens means you can now have your 9000 series with True-View!

    For more info and specs, check out the Speedglas 9002NC helmet here

    If you already have a Speedglas 9000 series and want to upgrade your welding lens to the Speedglas 9002NC welding lens, view it here

    Basic Level of Welding PPE

    By now, we’re sure you would have heard all about welding safely. Workplace practices have changed dramatically in the welding industry over the last few years and there is now an improved focus on the safety of welder’s.

    With a whole heap of information and regulations out there, it can get a bit confusing when it comes to welding safety. So, we thought we’d put together a checklist for welders to achieve the basic level of protection.

    Welding helmet – this goes without saying, right? Yes, of course, you need a welding helmet when welding. But not all helmets are built the same. Look for a welding helmet that gives you High Impact face protection (AS/NZS1337.1) and eye protection (AS/NZS1338.1). The Speedglas 9100XXi SeriesSpeedglas 9002NC and Speedglas 100V range are a great place to start!

    Earplugs – ALWAYS have hearing protection in place. If you’re exposed to workplace noises – above 85 decibels – then having your hearing protection in just 90% of the time offers you virtually no protection. Noise-induced hearing loss causes your ear hair cells to die – and they don’t grow back!

    The 3M Earplugs are convenient, lightweight and provide an excellent seal against noise. If you are looking for higher levels of protection and comfort, you should consider wearing 3M Earmuffs under or on your welding helmet!

    Disposable respirator – welding fumes are toxic and can lead to a whole range of health problems. Using a respirator from the 3M Disposable Respirator range can help to protect your lungs against welding fume, gases and vapours.

    A range of respirators is available to provide effective protection against different gases, vapours and particles. Or, if you require flexible, high level protection against dangerous fumes, you should consider using a 3M Reusable Respirator or 3M Adflo Powered Air Respirator (PAPR).

    Gloves – at the end of the day you can’t weld without your hands… Choosing gloves which offer high level heat protection and a good, comfortable fit make your day a LOT easier. The Ejendals Tegera Welding Gloves from Sweden feature a unique 'resting fit' with must-try dexterity, and a range of gloves to suit most welding applications!

    Pair these basic protective products with your welding attire and you’re ready to go!

    Prevention (of serious health injuries associated with welding) is the best form of cure!

    Explore our Best Selling Speedglas Welding Helmets

    View the range of 3M Disposable Respirators

    Check out the 3M Earplug range

    Try the top-quality Tegera welding gloves by Ejendals

    Important information all welders NEED to know!

    Important information all welders NEED to know!

    Welding Fume White Paper

    In early 2017, welding fume was reclassified by the International Agency on the Research of Cancer from classification Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) to Group 1 (Carcinogenic to humans). This change was primarily associated with the effects of UV exposure on the skin and eyes and also for lung cancers and limited evidence for kidney cancer from welding fume exposures.

    The above information outlined in the Welding Fume White Paper has led to a massive rethink from Australian employers and employees regarding welding safety. Already, there has been a massive push toward powered air respirators (PAPR) being used where respiratory hazards are present.

    While welders have known welding fume is ‘not good’ for your health for a long time, the findings by the IARC are significant in that they CONFIRM the link to cancer. Such an important finding is bound to have a significant impact on welding safety in Australia, and shine the spotlight upon the use of appropriate welding equipment and welding supplies.

    Powered air respirators are one control measure that is effective in protecting welders against particles, gases and hazardous vapours, as they provide a steady flow of filtered air straight to the breathing zone. This allows you to weld comfortably while remaining protected against airborne hazards.

    No matter how big or small the job, we encourage ALL welders to wear appropriate respiratory PPE in ensuring they are protected against dangerous gases, particles and fumes!

    For more information, make sure you download the Welding Fume White Paper 

    View the Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmets with Adflo PAPR here

    View the Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmets with Versaflo Supplied Air here

    View the range of 3M Reusable Respirators here