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The safety gear you need for your next steel project

Whether you’re handling, welding or cutting, safety gear is a crucial part of ensuring you are protected while working with steel. Your safety shouldn’t be an afterthought. Selecting and using the correct piece of safety gear is an important part of any metalworking job.

At Edcon Steel, we understand safety compliance and ensure our customers are aware of all of the right safety gear they will need before they start their steel project. And we’re always here with the safety gear you need stocked in our five steel stores.

The importance of personal protective equipment

Whether you are working on a construction site or tinkering with a metal project in your backyard, you need the proper safety gear and equipment. Safety is non-negotiable.

Safety gloves

Safety gloves

There are many different types of safety gloves on the market. Understanding which safety glove is best for your particular application or project will help you choose the right one for your protection.

For example, leather gloves provide strong protection against cuts, but can make it hard to grasp or hold small objects. At the same time, painting or staining steel with harsh chemicals may best be accomplished with waterproof and flexible latex gloves.

If in doubt, it’s always best to ask which glove type is best for your next project – we’re always here to help.

Choosing the right glove size is also just as important as choosing the right type. For example, if someone with small hands uses a pair of XXL gloves, the gloves may easily slip off, right when their protection is needed. Alternatively, a person with very large hands can’t squeeze into medium sized gloves, and so may not wear the necessary protection.

Steel cap boots

The importance of wearing properly fitted safety footwear should not be underestimated.

Steel cap boots protect your feet and ankles from hazards. Ensure that your steel cap boots fit you properly to avoid blisters, and damage to your ankles. It’s also worth investing in good quality PPE footwear to make sure you get the best value for money.

Safety goggles & shields

Eye protection is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment anyone working with steel will need. Safety goggles are available with lightweight, flexible frames with impact-resistant lenses and come in a variety of styles and lens colours, including clear, smoke and yellow.

You can also use a full face shield which will be particularly useful when cutting and grinding with a friction blade.

Hearing protection

Hearing protection

As you’re working on your next steel project, you’ll probably be surrounded by long periods of noise such as drilling, cutting, welding.

Exposure to excessive noise while working may result in temporary hearing loss or, potentially, even tinnitus, so it is important to mitigate the risks as much as possible by wearing quality hearing protection.

Safe Work Australia sets two exposure standards for noise, which are:

  • LAeq, 8h of 85 dB (A)
  • LC, peak of 140 dB (C)

For the first measure, this means that over the course of an eight hour shift, a person should not be exposed to any more than 85 decibels.

For the second measure, a person should not be exposed to any noise levels exceeding 140 decibels, as this is severely hazardous to hearing and could cause immediate damage.

You should take these measures as a guide for your home metal projects as much as they would be adhered to on a worksite.

Utilise hearing protection such as earmuffs and earplugs to ensure your ears are safe from long-term damage. Hearing protection comes in a wide range of sizes, with a model to suit every budget and purpose. Pay close attention to the noise reduction rating, taking into account your usual environment and the noise levels generated.

Masks

Masks

Masks provide protection from harmful and dangerous gases, vapours and airborne particles that are produced when fillers, coatings, shielding gases and metal are heated to high temperatures, especially during the welding process.

Ergonomically designed masks and respirators can fit comfortably with, or underneath, your safety goggles or a welding helmet, so it’s an essential piece of safety gear for your next metalwork project.

Welding jackets and helmets

Welding jackets and helmets

Welding jackets and sleeves made of flame resistant materials add additional protection for your back and arms during the welding process.

It’s also a good idea to check the fabric weight of the welding jacket you plan to purchase and ensure that your workwear conforms with Australian Standards.

If you are welding, you need to wear a welding helmet to protect your eyes, face and neck.

If you are using an arc welding process, a welding helmet will protect you from arc eye and retina burns. You will also avoid flash burn and damage from sparks.

Be sure to select the right welding helmet for the welding process you are using, as different helmets will have different lens shades to protect your eyes, depending on the intensity required.

Hard hats

Hard hats

White hard hats are easily visible from a distance, giving proper protection when equipment is moving above eye level.

Hard hats are designed to protect the head and neck from impact.

Whether it’s a falling object, a swinging component or low ceilings, wearing a hard hat ensures you protect your sensitive facial organs and brain from risk of injury.

All your steel and safety requirements under one roof

Edcon Steel is Australia’s most comprehensive online steel and metal superstore, so if you’re looking for safety gear or other products for your next project, we’ve got you covered. We cut and supply steel and metal – in a wide range of shapes, sizes and grades – for all your project needs.

Read more steel articles to find out more about the steel industry, customer projects and product resources.