Welding is a discipline of joining pieces of metals together using high heat. It is one of the most challenging jobs out there. But will the heat damage the watches? Can welders wear watches?
Welders can wear watches, as OSHA does not ban them. However, the heat and the sparks may damage watches by causing bubbles on the crystal or melting rubber or resin case and straps. Watches are best worn underneath protective clothing or gloves.
In this article, we will discuss if welders wear watches. We will also look at reasons not to wear one when welding and some tips to protect your watch when wearing it for welding work.
Why Do You Want To Wear Watches When Welding?
You might want to wear a watch to do welding work since you still need to tell the time when working. OSHA also does not ban you from wearing watches. You also might prefer to wear a watch, as it makes you more comfortable.
You Still Need To Tell Time. Since welding jobs involve gasses and sparks, welders often work alone for safety. That means you will need a way to tell time yourself since you might not be able to just ask anyone nearby for a time.
You might still be able to tell time with a phone, but you will need to put down all your equipment just to be able to pull out your phone from your pocket. You just flick your wrist with a watch to see the time immediately.
You Prefer To Wear One. Some people are very used to wearing a watch, and they find it very odd not to have one. These folks feel ‘naked and cold’ on the wrist without a watch. Some also feel odd without the additional weight on their wrist, particularly if they are used to chunky, heavy watches such as dive watches or Panerais.
If you prefer to wear a watch to work, go ahead and strap on a watch since you might just be able to do a better job wearing one. Plus, you are allowed to wear a watch by OSHA.
You Are Not Barred From Wearing It. OSHA does not explicitly allow or ban watches in its official documentation on welding. This means you have the freedom to decide if you want to wear one or not.
However, you may want to check with the safety officer at your worksite for policies about watches since they may differ from OSHA.
Why Do You Not Want To Wear Watches When Welding?
While welding, you may not want to wear watches as the hot sparks may melt your watch and damage the crystals on your watch. If you are not using the correct eye shield, you may not be able to see your watch anyway since it’s too dark.
Your Watch May Melt. This may happen if your watch has a resin, rubber, or plastic surface.
Many welders have reported that the G-Shocks suffered from burned holes or melted casing due to being exposed to sparks and heat from the welding work. Some also reported that their leather straps are also damaged by the heat during welding.
You May Damage The Crystal. The hot sparks and gasses from welding can also affect your watch crystal. Welders have also reported how their watch crystals develop bubbles, possibly due to the layers in the crystal separating due to heat.
Some also reported damages to the anti-reflective coating of their watch crystal. When exposed to high heat and sparks, watches with acrylic crystals may melt since they are technically plastic.
You Can’t Really See Your Watch Anyway. OSHA stipulates that welders should be welding with eye protection such as goggles or shields.
First, it is to keep the sparks and heat from hurting your eyes, and the second is to protect your eyes from ultra-bright lights emitted during welding. This means these eye protection have a dimming effect – it makes the welding light comfortable to the eye but darkens everything else.
As a result, you may not be able to read your watch when wearing the filter. Since it may be too dark.
Tips On Watches When Welding
Consider wearing the watch on your dominant hand to minimize exposure to sparks. You may wear your watch underneath protective clothing. An auto-darkening shield allows you to read your watch, and watches with a metal surface handle spark better.
Wear On Your Dominant Hand
Standard advice on wearing a watch is to wear it on your non-dominant hand. This protects your watch from damage since our dominant hands are much more active.
However, the wrist of your dominant hand is mainly further from the welding surface during welding. The sparks from welding also might be more likely to fly towards the non-dominant hand.
If you wear your watch on your dominant wrist, it will be better protected from the sparks during welding.
Cover Your Watch
Often welders are required to wear gloves to protect their hands during work. This is an opportunity you can take to further protect your watch.
For example, suppose you wear gauntlet-style gloves that extend into the forearm. In that case, your watch will automatically be protected, provided that you wear it underneath the glove. The watch will be protected from the heat and sparks during your welding work.
This also means you can wear the watch on any wrist you prefer since it will be safely protected underneath your gloves.
Small, Thin, Smooth
If you plan to wear gauntlet-style gloves, your watch will be worn underneath it. You might want to wear a small, thin watch with a smooth surface.
The idea here is since you may wear and take off the glove many times a day, you want a watch that can easily slide in or out without interfering with the gloves. Plus, an overly chunky watch may cause a bulge on your gloves, potentially interfering with work.
Auto Darkening Shield
One of the issues for welders when wearing a watch is that their eye protection shield may be darkened. The darkening makes looking at the welding area comfortable to the eye but makes everyday things dark and unclear.
This causes welders to not be able to look at their watches to tell time unless they remove the shield.
Some auto-darkening shields will turn dark when it senses extra-bright lights from sparks and then revert back to normal. If a welder wears such an eye shield, telling time will not be an issue.
Metal Case and Bracelet
Finally, a watch made with a metal case, bracelets, and sapphire crystal may handle the heat and potential spark exposure better than other materials.
This is because sparks and heat from the welding may damage a watch’s resin, plastic, or rubber surfaces. The sparks may also burn through your leather strap, leaving burn marks.
Metal case and bracelet should handle this better, although there are no guarantees that it will not have burn marks if exposed to hot sparks. The best is to wear your watch under protective clothing, such as gauntlet-style gloves.