Plasma Cutting Safety – Personal Protective Equipment

With the advancement of technology, various welding equipment, as well as plasma cutters, are widely used in a home, shops and cutting industries. The plasma cutter is not only a useful equipment, but also a possibly risky tool, if proper safety measurements aren't taken while working with it. Hence, the plasma cutting safety issue is now a great concern while working with this tool.

This article is all about plasma cutter personal protective equipment.

First, let's go to learn about the risk factors of a plasma cutter that may affect your health.

These are:

  • Arc
  • Fumes and gases
  • Sparks and heat
  • Electrocution

Arc

The arc is a combination of intense visible and invisible ultraviolet and infrared light rays. The produced arc of a plasma cutter is very hot and powerful. The arc is fatal for unprotected body parts like eyes and arms. It can burn skin and eyes, too. It's also a severe fire hazard.

Fumes and Gases

During the cutting process fumes and gasses are produced. Especially, if you work with coated metals, they produce toxic fumes. These fumes and gases are extremely hazardous. They may cause fatal health hazards to the operator and even to the working environment and other workers.

Sparks and Heat

The sparks and heat produced during cutting process is a dangerous issue for anything located near the welding and cutting area. The heat may burn your exposed skin. The piece of the spark may come into contact with yourself, catch in pant cuffs, open pockets or down a shirt, and may cause serious damage.

The eye injury may occur due to produced spark, intense light, and radiation from the plasma cutting process. The hot slag can fly off and injured your eyes.

Electrocution

If you work with a plasma cutter, integrated with inverter technology, you're at a fatal shock risk. Working in the wet environment and without rubber gloves increases this risk.

The Importance of Using Personal Protective Equipment

Whether you're using a plasma cutter for home improvement purpose or in an industry, safety is an essential part of getting the job done.

Potential hazards of cutting with plasma cutter arise mainly due to exposures to metal fumes and to ultraviolet radiation. The effects of these operations include:

  • Skin burns
  • Eye damage
  • Electrical shock
  • Cuts
  • Crushed fingers and toes

It’s a good news that these types of health hazard are possible to control with proper practices and PPE (personal protective equipment). Only using the perfect PPE can protect you from molten metal, fumes, and other harmful drawbacks. As a responsible cutting operator, it's your responsibility to protect yourself as well as others by using necessary safety gears.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) For Plasma Cutting

A number of safety gears are available to ensure the safety of you while working with a plasma cutter.

  • For Head, Face and eye Protection- helmet, hand shield, goggles, Caps/ Bandanas, Safety Glasses
  • For Hand Protection- Gloves
  • For foot protection-Rubber boot
  • For Skin protection- Apparel
  • For lungs protection- Respiratory mask
  • For ears (hearing) protection- ear plugs, ear muffs

Let's go through a chart of PPE that summarizes the available safety gears for plasma cutting.​​​​​​

Body Part

PPE

( Personal Protective Equipment )

Reason To Use

Head

Eyes

Face

  • Welding helmet
  • Hand shield Goggles
  • Safety glasses

Keep safe from:

  • Spark
  • Hot slag / debris
  • Radiation
  • Intense light

Remember, your eyes require added protection provided by safety glasses or face shield equipped with the appropriate lens shade.

The operators must use the perfect PPE to protect their eyes in order to avoid visual stimulation to the pupil by the intense arc light.

Hands

Gloves

It’s important to wear effective gloves during cutting process.

It Keeps safe from:

  • Heat
  • Electric shock
  • Fire
  • Burns

Feet

Boots

Keep safe from:

  • Electric shock

Skin

Apparel

Keep safe from:

  • Burns
  • Heat
  • Fires

Nonflammable and heat- resistant apron and proper clothing protect your skin. It ensures that if any hot slag, spark or other debris fly and come into contact with yourself, the apparel will protect you properly.

Lungs

Respirator mask

Keep safe from:

  • Fumes
  • Oxides

This type of mask filter the particles as well as the fumes from the air and thus enhance the operator’s safety and comfort.

Ears (hearing)

  • Ear plugs
  • Ear muffs

Keep safe from:

  • Noise

Don't forget to use fire resistant ear plugs if there is sparks or splatter as these may enter your ear and cause harm.

These personal protection gear will not only ensure a safe working process, but also save your health and life. You should use them while working with a plasma cutter.

Remember, safety first and nothing is more important than your safety and health.
Ronald Wilson
 

I’m Ronald, Specialist engaged in the manufacture of fabricated metal product. I’ve been involved in the fabrication industry since 1998. To continue my love in welding and to share my experience I've formed a research team and have created this website for our valuable customers.

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