Most of what you know about welding is that it can produce some pretty cool stuff. You might have seen steel bridges, skyscrapers, or even the Eiffel Tower being made on TV. What you may not know is that there are risks that come with welding, especially when using galvanized steel.
While welding, it's essential to take all the necessary precautions to ensure you are safe and healthy. One of these precautions includes wearing a respirator when working with galvanized steel. Let’s dive into the details of what galvanized steel is and the respirators to protect you from it.
Galvanized steel is a welding material that undergoes “galvanization” to achieve durability and corrosion resistance. Galvanizing steel is processed in different ways like hot dipping in zinc, galvannealing, pre-galvanizing, and electrogalvanizing. However, the first method is the most common one. Can you weld galvanized metal? You definitely can, and with its outstanding qualities, it could just be one of your first welding material options.
Nevertheless, prolonged exposure to galvanized steel particles and fumes can result in cancer. So while welding, precaution and proper welding equipment and attire are required—particularly respirators.
Aside from your materials, to achieve the best welding results, you must maintain excellent health through proper welding attire. These are just some of the illnesses that you can get from welding:
To prevent these, wear the proper respiratory equipment while welding.
Disposable masks, as the name suggests, give you the convenience of throwing them away after use. These masks are a levelled up version of dust masks that prevent fumes and particles from entering your mouth and nose.
Advantages: A disposable respirator for welding galvanized steel eliminates the possibility of inhaling fumes and particles. It also ensures a system that allows you to inhale cool air and exhale warm air in and out of the mask. It is also easy to wear with rubber straps; you need to wrap it around the back of your head. Because it is not as bulky as other designs, it fits nicely under your welding helmet.
Disadvantages: Nevertheless, disposable masks cannot eliminate the smell of chemicals from the material you are welding. If you want to be environmentally-friendly, disposing of masks after use is not the best option for you either.
If you want a solid investment, and you’ll be welding galvanized steel and other materials, it is best to go for reusable masks.
Advantages: A reusable respirator mask for welding galvanized steel has detachable cartridges to replace the filters after every session. The cotton filter pads ensure that no particles and fumes will reach your lungs, causing harm to your respiratory system. The smell of harmful chemicals is a part of what the filters will keep you away from.
Disadvantages: The only drawback you’ll get from reusable masks are the filters you need to throw after use—they aren’t that environmentally-friendly. These masks are also a bit bulkier, so you’ll need to pay attention to picking welding helmets you can wear with them.
If you are welding as a career, it is best to invest in robust equipment. These tools assure your safety from galvanized steel particles and other workplace fumes.
Advantages: Technology has now allowed the development of respirators built-in together with your helmet. You’ll get these with the powered air system masks. You need to wear a belt containing the air filter while wearing a welding helmet like this. The two are connected by a valve that serves as an air pathway. Wearing these types of helmets also allows you to see your weld clearly because of a wider viewing area.
Disadvantages: Powered air system helmets are run by batteries, so you’ll need to charge them now and again. The system also does not take away the need to replace filters for environmental friendliness.
Welding galvanized steel can be a dangerous job if you are not using the proper protective gear. It is essential to use the correct respirator for your safety; preventing you breathing in welding fume from galvanized steel.
You can choose among the three types of masks, depending on your needs. If you weld galvanized steel regularly, it is best to invest in a powered air system and reusable masks. But having disposable masks on hand will be convenient for the occasional welding of galvanized steel.
You now have all the intelligence needed to make an informed decision about which mask is best for protecting yourself while welding galvanized steel. Let us know what you decide!