Last Updated on Nov 19, 2022
Whenever you’re welding things at work or home, you’ll definitely need some type of protective equipment to keep you safe from fragments that could damage your face or eyesight. When you’re welding, it could release toxic fumes and gases, which is not good for your health. Even a basic wielding mask that protects you from any type of fumes can be used whenever you’re doing a welding job at any given point in time.
If you do not take any precautions during your welding sessions, you could suffer from eye irritation and skin damage. Not only that, but you could also experience headaches and nausea, along with the fact that you are at risk of suffering from more deadly long-term effects like lung cancer or bronchitis.
These factors give you all the more reason to upgrade your equipment to a welding respirator mask that will shield you from these types of long-term or short-term effects.
Welding respirator also offers a much superior protection than your average disposable mask. These masks are also durable, where they have much higher resistance to heat and ultraviolet rays. Seemingly, welders have been more inclined to use welding respirators higher in quality and durability, as these factors could very well protect and save them from the toxic compounds they’re exposed to whenever they’re working.
If you’re somebody who welds on a regular basis, you should find and purchase a welding respirator mask that fits and suits you best. Here in this article, we’ll give you a detailed look at which respirator masks are recommended and give you insight into how to use them effectively.
Half Mask Vs Full Face Respirators – Which Should I Use For Welding?
A half mask and a full face respirator both serve the same purpose. But there are slight differences between these two. While both types of masks will cover the nose and mouth, a full face respirator also covers your eyes. People have different types of preferences on how they choose their masks. Since both these types of masks are equally important in protecting yourself, selecting an appropriate respirator is vital.
If you want to choose between a half mask or full face respirator, you should take note of these points.
Half mask respirator:
- A half mask is more ideal to use when there are different protective gears to use while welding.
- Wearing a half mask respirator will typically cover the lower section of your face, including your mouth and nose.
- Half mask respirators can be used with another type of headgear and equipment as they do not use up too much space.
- You can wear protective glasses with half mask respirator as it does not cover your eyes.
- Half masks are typically disposable.
Full face respirator:
- Full face respirators are generally produced to cover your mouth, nose, and eyes, meaning that it fully covers your face. It results in much better coverage of the face for full protection.
- Full face respirators are usually used in work environments where it requires you to fully protect your face, especially in places where the gases could be harmful to your health.
- Protective glasses are not needed while wearing full face respirators as it covers your eyes too.
- Full face respirators are also used while you’re engaged in work that involves painting and spraying.
With these things in mind, you should be able to know which type of respirator is best suited for you and your work environment. Note that the filters on both masks are usually interchangeable after a certain period of usage.
Can You Wear a Respirator Under a Welding helmet?
Some respirators are specifically designed to fit perfectly under any type of welding helmet that helps in blending the flow of air in the helmets, resulting in a comfortable experience and ease of mobility.
Do They Make Disposable Welding Respirators? Are They Recommended?
Disposable respirators are readily available in the market as they are a popular choice for welders who do not want to use the same respirator for multiple times. Disposable welding respirators have their benefits as they are cheap and lightweight, along with the fact that they are typically used for one time, minimizing the risk of putting them on again. When you use disposable welding respirators, keep in mind that the build quality might differ from different makers.
Since disposable welding respirators are affordable, they are best suited for short-term welding work where you don’t have to put them on for extended periods of time. Usage of disposable welding respirators is recommended only if you plan to work on welding on a specified timeline.
Since you know when to start and stop, a disposable mask will suit you better, as they are cheaper and can be replaced. But the downside of disposable welding respirators is that the quality may not be up to par with other face masks. The masks may also not fit one’s face perfectly, as disposable masks are typically made in universal sizes.
Nonetheless, these disposable masks will undoubtedly do their job in protecting you from harmful fumes and toxins during your welding sessions.
Popular Welding Respirators
While several welding respirators serve their purpose, some respirators stand out due to their building quality and effectiveness. Some respirators have different protective layers where they are built using special materials and hardware. We’ll take a look at two popular respirators that is popular in the market and welders trust.
Miller Welding Respirator
Welding Respirators made by Miller company mainly sells half mask respirators along with other additional peripherals for welding purposes. The respirator masks help filter out the fumes from welding and the harmful particles in the air that the human eye cannot see.
The Miller welding respirator also improves the comfort of the wearer and also increases safety for the wearer. These. Miller Welds offer a range of disposable respirators, half mask, supplied-air masks, and powered respirators that helps purify the air.
For half mask respirators, there are two primary modes that they sell for welding purposes. Each model has its own unique perks and benefits. For LPR-100 Half Mask Respirators (Nuisance OV Relief), the main features are:
- The masks help filter particles that are airborne up to 99%. The filters in these masks are highly resistant to oily particles and act as a primary filter for particles in the air, including dust and fumes from the welds. The spark guard that can be wrapped around protects the welder from sparks during the welding process.
- The mask’s design is made so that you can see everything clearly and make sure that nothing obstructs your vision, allowing you to wear any protective glasses with ease.
- The dynamic design makes the users wear them with comfort without degrading the mask’s efficacy.
- The exhaust valves on the masks significantly cut off heat from the welding.
- The Miller welding respirators make it easier for the users to breathe without any trouble.
- The turnbuckles on the masks help in replacing the filters simple and effortless.
- The organic vapor through the N95 filter helps in cutting off the smell of the vapors by a great level.
- The cushioning placement on the masks also adds another level of comfort and durability.
- The nuisance organic vapor relief model also makes sure the concentrations do not exceed the permissible exposure limits.
The LPR 100 Half Mask Respirator Organic Vapor is also similar in design that is mainly designed for welding and painting purposes, along with other forms of metalwork. This mask helps filter out any particles in the air that are both oil and non oil-based.
3M Welding Respirator
The 3M Welding Respirator is a full face respirator with special protective shields, especially for welding purposes. The mask also includes an additional shield that you can flip up over the grinding shield. The wide-ranged view of the shield makes it easy for the wearer and gives out a wider perspective while working.
The 3M welding Respirator is ideal for construction, heavy infrastructure, and industrial work. The tough design of the respirator makes it durable and suitable for taxing work environments where lots of heavy equipment and work is involved.
The main features of the 3M welding respirator are:
- It is very lightweight, allowing ease of mobility and portability for the user. The convenient design of the head suspension also makes it easy to make adjustments at any given time.
- The flippable shield on the front gives the user a clearer vision and a wider view for different work purposes. The visor is also clear and helps reduce unwanted lights.
- The viewing area, which is 2.8×4.2, has a filter that the user can darken depending on the work environment and space.
- The 3M welding respirator has high protection capabilities, significantly cutting off harmful toxins and fumes.
- The breathable tubes in the respirator system make it extremely easy for the user to breathe in and out with no difficulty.
- The respiratory mask also includes a flow indicator with vital filters and covers to guarantee full safety for the wearer.
- The wide viewing visor makes it possible for the wearer to have a much better peripheral vision. There are four primary 3M respirator models;
- G5-01: This model is produced mainly for grinding purposes, making this a heavy-duty respirator mask. It has an adjustable airflow system with changeable color tints.
- 9100-Air: The 9100 model comes with an air purifying system that keeps the air flow and quality intact. The visor filters can also be darkened automatically, protecting the eyesight from particles and light.
- 9100 FX Air: This model also comes with a visor that can be flipped down during grinding sessions. Thus, protecting the eyesight and face.
- 9100 MP: This respirator model has a protective layer that promotes safe respiratory functioning while working. The wide-angled visor also gives the wearer a wider field of vision.
What are the OSHA Welding Respirator Requirements?
Paying attention to the guideline that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists, or OSHA in short, is extremely important to maintain safety and standard operations procedures. Since welding involves risks and exposure to fumes, gases, and other harmful radiations, every welder and organization should uphold their responsibilities to ensure the total safety and well-being of the workers.
The management department is also set up to make sure the welders follow all the OSHA guidelines and necessary procedures that involve using the correct equipment during their working hours. If you’re in the field of welding, you should be aware of the regulations and orders by the OSHA. So, we’ll give some details on what the respirator requirements are from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The OSHA requirements and regulations for welding involve using the right gear for protective purposes and maintaining the limits of exposure to acceptable fumes during welding. According to the OSHA regulations, the workers must be thoroughly briefed on the possible toxic chemicals they may be exposed to and ensure that all the workers are supplied with the right gears and equipment.
The supervisors should also be fully aware and knowledgeable on the tools and machinery to ensure safety. Besides the general guidelines, here are more regulations and requirements according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration;
- The employees or organization ought to supply proper ventilation systems to control and keep the hazardous fume exposure within acceptable limits.
- Employers must understand the level of exposure to estimate the risks involved during any welding sessions. Understanding these exposure types involves collecting air samples by a professional.
- The ventilation and exhaust systems should be set up properly to keep the gases and fumes away from the breathing area.
- The respirator filters are chosen based on the level of resistance to oil particles in the air.
- Since normal filters cannot remove gaseous vapors, the respirators must have an active carbon filter on the cartridges.
- OSHA also states that the respirators must all be tested to fit the user perfectly with proper respirator evaluation and selection.
- If a welding workplace has fumes and vapors that are not easy to filter, the employers should provide a supplied-air respirator.