Regardless of how experienced you are at welding, whether it's your first try or you've been doing it for years, good safety equipment is essential for a good job. With welding being one of the most dangerous jobs, the risk of injury is obvious. However, if you're not totally secure in the knowledge that you have the right safety equipment your workmanship will suffer too, as you won't be able to focus on the task at hand. Here are the essential pieces of safety equipment that every welder needs.
The key part of your safety clothing is your helmet, which will protect your face from any errant sparks. Auto-dimming helmets, which react to the bright light of welding and are easier to see through before you start the job, can be extra-useful and help you see what you're doing as well as protecting your eyes.
A solid pair of welding gloves is another must for any job, no matter how small. A good, robust pair that cover most of your arms will be needed here - don't think you can get away with anything that isn't specifically designed with white-hot sparks of metal in mind.
Welding may produce the most obvious danger through the sparks, but there's also a less visible threat to your health and safety - the fumes and small pieces of metal can give you serious problems if inhaled, especially if you're spending all day working. A respiratory mask can save you a lot of trouble and prevent damage to your lungs, sinuses and throat that can be painful in the short-term and serious in the long-term.
A face mask may be your first line of protection when welding, but it certainly shouldn't be your only one. Sparks can have a mind of their own and slip into any gaps, and your eyes have to be protected at all costs. A pair of safety glasses as one of your key welding supplies underneath your mask will make sure you're extra-safe and aren't taking any chances.