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Metalworking General

What to Wear When Working with Metal

Wear When Working with Metal

Whether your metalworking shop does welding, cutting, pressing, brazing, grinding, or all of the above, there is an appropriate dress code that you and your workers should be following. 

Created to help keep metalworkers safe and to minimize the number of workplace-related injuries, enforcing proper dress code and safety gear in the workplace is a must.

Working around heavy-duty machinery can be very dangerous if the appropriate precautions are not taken. While metalworking machines are designed with safety guards in place, accidents can happen. In this post, we highlight some very important dress code tips for you and your team.


Picking the Right Uniform

Although not every metalworking facility or shop requires a full uniform, there are a few guidelines to take into consideration. For example, short-sleeved shirts and shorts should never be worn while performing any hot-work operations. This is especially true for welding. We recommend long-sleeved shirts and worker-friendly jeans.

One thing that you should be aware of is that flame-resistant clothing exists. Our advice is to find a brand that you like and make sure that all of your employees have the option to get this type of protective clothing. Tightly woven, flame-resistant jeans and shirts along with a proper welding jacket can go a long way in minimizing serious injuries.

If you are worried that flame-resistant clothing will be heavy or hinder your employee's performance on the floor, put those thoughts aside. With the latest wearable technology, clothing brands are able to create lightweight products to facilitate movement. These clothes do not cause overheating, and they are not restricting. Pigskin leather is another good material to keep an eye out for.


No Sneakers 

If you work in a metalworking shop or factory, open-toed shoes and even sneakers are completely out of the question.

Boots or high-top leather shoes are the only appropriate footwear to have on the floor. Cloth shoes are not permitted, and your pants' legs should never be tucked inside the boots or high-top shoes. They should go over the shoes.


Gloves Are Non-Negotiable

While some people may believe that gloves hinder a metalworker's ability to perform their job, that simply is not the case anymore. Welding gloves with ergonomically curved fingers can easily be found today.

While there are many different styles to choose from, we recommend choosing the type of gloves that are best suited to your normal routine inside the metalworking shop.

Pro Tip: Always use pliers to move hot metal. Gloves are meant to protect your hands from heat. They are not designed for you to directly pick up hot metal pieces with your hands. 


Earplugs and Headphones

Even if you are alone in your own hobby shop, metalworking can get loud very quickly. Earplugs are great for protecting your hearing if you also need to wear a helmet.

If you do not need a helmet for the job you are working on, then noise-canceling headphones will do the trick.


Head Gear

If your metalworking facility does any type of welding, then welding helmets are required. While these helmets do protect the operator’s head and face, their main purpose is to protect the eyes from light exposure.

They should be properly fitted with a filter shade to live up to their true potential. If you perform a welding operation without a helmet, you may experience arc flash. This is caused by the arc’s ray, and it is very painful. Symptoms may not appear until later, but you will certainly regret not using a helmet if you experience arc flash.

There are many different types of helmets that you can use. Auto-darkening helmets help to reduce fatigue and adjust the shade’s sensitivity to light in a fraction of a second.

Some helmet models can even be used for various operations besides welding including cutting, pressing, and grinding. These tend to be more expensive, but they are worth the investment. 



As mentioned, earplugs should be worn underneath your helmet. However, that isn’t all that needs to be added to the mix for proper safety. Glasses with side shields should also be worn whether you have on a helmet or not. Alternatively, safety goggles will also work if you prefer that style of safety glasses.

Always wear protective eyewear when performing any metalworking operation. Protective eyewear is designed to prevent ocular damage from debris, infrared light, ultraviolet light, and heat. If you fail to wear your safety glasses or goggles, the results could be extremely painful.

The most common injury is known as Photokeratitis. Sometimes referred to as welder’s flash, this condition is a severe burn to the cornea. 


Wrapping Up

Safety gear and appropriate clothing should always be worn whenever you or your employees are out on the manufacturing floor. This is not a recommendation. It’s an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation. According to the Eye and Face Protection guidelines, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that the workers are wearing the appropriate head gear.

As an employer, it is your job to ensure that workers are equipped with adequate safety gear. It is also required that you take it upon yourself to perform a full workplace assessment to gauge any potential hazards. If hazards are found, then it is also your job to ensure that the workers are aware of the danger and that they know about all of the safety precautions that should be taken.

When it comes to workplace safety, prevention is key. The type of injuries that can happen during metalworking operations can be very severe. It’s best to implement safety measures and guidelines and to make sure everyone on your team is appropriately dressed and properly trained.

Are you ready to expand your metalworking shop with the safest machines available? Get in touch with our experts here at Dake today.

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