Shop Safety: PPE SDS and other acronyms

Ok so let’s talk safely!

Who’s doing what for personal protective equipment in the shop?
Beyond the basics such as safely glasses when using cutting tools and no loose clothing/jewelry.

Do you wear a respirator when you braze or weld? If so how ventilated is your space?

How deadly serious do you take safety data sheets?

I’m mostly doing low fuming bronze with type b flux and I’m in a garage that I try to keep warm in the winter In Canada so it’s not very well ventilated. I wear a respirator when ever I braze and try to keep my head out the fumes.

I basically keep it on till I open the door to leave for some fresh air.
I do my best to not get the flux on my skin but that shit goes every where.

I see people with gas fluxers not wearing any respiratory protection is that “safe”

If you read the sds sheet for type b you’re really not supposed to eat or drink while using it either.

I’ve recently switched from using relton rapid tap to lps natural cutting lube or canola oil as I got pretty spooked after reading that sds, it just makes for such a nice cut though.

I don’t want to live for ever but I’d prefer not to die slowly from a respiratory disease


I’ve seen (not through my work) some of the behind the scenes details of health claims regarding respiratory issues, from both sides insurance wise.
Not any due to welding/brazing that I can recall.

Hearing about those and heavy machinery injuries/deaths has strongly reinforced my caution in the workshop. Many were related to lathes… anything rotating should be respected.

I try to follow the danish working environment authority’s recommendation/rules that I was taught in welding school (they’re quite strict about this in Denmark and you have to go through an 8 hour class to be allowed to study/work in a facility that welds. Don’t know if this is standard in all of EU and the rest of the world though…?)
For fumes/gasses my main weapon is a low-vacuum extractor and no respirator. This is what I’ve been taught to be the best way to protect yourself. Of course it would be even better to also wear an air supplied respirator mask so you have fresh clean air to breath, and if I didn’t have the possibility of a fume extrator I would definitely get one!
To me it’s sort of a choice between convenience and safety. I really hate wearing regular respirator masks and wearing them for extensive periods (2+ hours) can also cause harm as well is I’m informed.
I used to work at a place where we would use air supplied welding masks and my neck was always sore due to the weight of the mask. So I’ve landed on just having a low-vacuum extractor.
Besides my workshop is very ventilated since it’s an old industrial building withs holes in the windows and big doors that wont shut…

1 Like

This a great thread! Thanks for calling it out.

Here is a MSDS

This joke only lands if you live in California, but I think this is the only thing that does not have a prop65 warning :rofl:. Time to put it in my sandwiches

@starfishbicycles the fume extractor seems like a good addition. Do you have a picture of the setup of a link to a similar product?

One PPE that I think is underrated is hearing protection. Hearing damage is irreversible!


I use a setup similar to this one, however the vacuum machine is on the other side of the wall so I don’t get all the noise in the room I work which is so nice since they can be quite noisy. I also don’t have any filter on, but it blows the ait directly outside. Might want it if I upgrade at some point for environmantal reasons.

In Denmark it’s required by law to use this kind of extractor any time you weld at a workplace and the company and even worker will get serious fines if you don’t use it correctly.

For ear protection I use a pair Jabra elite 3 headset :sweat_smile: Propably not the best, however they are desinged to be inactive-noise canceling and I wear it a lot of the time anyway. When I’m not using them I use something like these, because you can hang them around the neck where they’re not in the way but always at hand any time you need them. I actually think the headset is better though.

1 Like

Any time I’m cutting tubes or working with the machines I wear protective glasses and big ear muffs. The ear muffs also keep me warm in the winter in my basement.

When welding or brazing I open up the windows to allow cross ventilation. Is it enough? I have no idea. But I don’t do the volume where I’m spending day after day breathing in the fumes, so I don’t worry about it.

I braze primarily.

Brazing = respirator with fumes filters and an open window.

Using the grinder / dynafile / dremel = respirator with dust filters, hearing protection, face shield.

I want to install a split side heater in my shop soon so I can open the window / store and have fresh air blowing into the shop.

I use a respirator with Honeywell P100 “Defender” catridges which are hard to breath through but filter pretty much everything. I’m lucky enough that a standard North half face fits me well, and I cut out my welding helmet to fit it.

I am always baffled when I see pictures of builders not masked up when melting metal. You only get one set of lungs…

Other than that, just normal shop safety stuff. Though I am sometimes known to weld in flip flops (with a respirator), lol.



I’m pretty sensitive to sound, and use a pair of 3M Bluetooth ear muffs or Milwaukee in ear plugs pretty much any time I have a power tool on and when I’m hack sawing anything. Ouch my ears.

When I’m on the mill I’ll throw some over-the-glasses safety glasses… over my prescription glasses.

For brazing I have an old pair of dark prescription sun glasses that work extremely well. I couldn’t find brazing glasses that fit over my normal glasses well without effecting my vision.

I have a 3m respirator with a few different filters depending on what I’m doing. Oh and I’ve got my tanks set up so I can easily braze outside for when I’m doing repairs.


I also have the 3M headphones. Got a few friends who have destroyed their hearing with too much punk rock and it’s… really grim. I think I’d rather be blind, honestly.

I like the el-cheapo safety glasses from Jackson. Nemesis and Hellrazer are both pretty decent riding glasses, too.


1 Like

What are people wearing for eye protection while brazing? Some say dark sunglasses but I have also seen recommendations for didymium or various weld shade level lenses or shields.

1 Like

All decent safety glasses and sunglasses block 100% of UV which is what’s dangerous for your eyes. What is comfortable for your own eyes will vary, but there is not a safety issue with just using sunglasses.


1 Like

I spend all day around wood working machine tools, it can get real fast.

We have to follow the CAL-OSHA regulations and do get inspections from them. MSDS, established safety protocols, insurance information, designated safety person, first aid box, eye wash station, fire extinguishers (and inspections, too), mandatory staff safety meetings. we have to have it all.


3M respirator if I’m welding for a long time. Anytime I’m using abrasives for more than a small project l wear it too.
3M foam earplugs are the bomb for comfort in a generally noisy shop environment, and don’t have to mess with taking em out for quick changes between processes due to interference with face shields or welding hoods.
I treat myself to any safety glasses that I like wearing as long as they’re Z-87.

1 Like

I use didymium glasses with a #3 I think clip-on flip-up shade. I can flip up the shade to check my work as I go. The didymium makes it a bit easier to see through the flame to see what you’re brazing.


I’ve always been curious what level lens shade for tig welding everyone uses.

Tig Shade Level
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
0 voters

I use an adjustable auto-darkening hood. Usually set to 8-10 depending on the thickness of the part I’m welding.


Long one for ya;

PPE is extremely important especially in your own shop space where no boss or safety inspector is holding you accountable. You only get one set of eyes/ears/lungs/fingers - protect them!

Welding/brazing fumes are bad for you. Metal particulates are bad for you. Sanding dust is bad for you. Solvents are bad for you. None of these things will kill you right off the bat but they are the things that can potentially shorten your life by 30 years if you don’t take them seriously.

Eyes: safety glasses at all times. I invested in a nice pair with anti-scratch and anti-fog lenses and I keep them on a string around my neck so I don’t misplace or forget about them. If you are doing a lot of mechanical grinding, a face shield is also a good option on top of your glasses. If you ever want to scare yourself straight on eye/face protection, just google angle grinder disc failure. Cheapie safety glasses are better than nothing but something shatter-proof is best.

For brazing I use shade 5 glasses. I personally find shade 3 not dark enough. The only issue with shade 5 is you can’t quite see the heat colour of the metal, so if you depend on that for a visual cue it might not work for you.

I have heard that glass-blowing didymium/purple tint glasses are quite good but have never tried them, and they are very expensive. You can get a cheap shade 5 glasses for $15-$30.

Lungs: minimum n95 most of the time working in the shop. Anytime grinding, filing, cutting metal you should be wearing one. Metal particulates and aluminum oxide/sanding dust is VERY bad for your lungs. Black snot at the end of the day indicates you are not wearing an appropriate respirator.

Welding/brazing: absolute minimum n95, preferably half face respirator with p100 cartridges. I am sometimes lazy about this because I find it uncomfortable and sweaty to wear for extended time, but I recently discovered there are high quality disposable p100 masks that are similar fit to the n95 style. I ordered a few to try out and will report back. They are more expensive (~$20 per vs ~$4 per n95) but the best PPE is the one you will wear properly all day over nothing.

I use an in-line exhaust fan with a regular outlet plug as my main ventilation and I crack a window as my fresh air inlet (or open the door if it’s summer). They are relatively cheap, $200ish for something rated for 300 or 400CFM. Just make sure if you are buying one that it’s a plug-on version and not a hardwire version. The outlet is wired to a light switch so I can easily flick it on and off as needed.

The super cheap and easy version of this is buy a box fan and stick it in your window frame with the airflow pointed outside. Open another window or door as your fresh air inlet.

I would love to have a smoke-eater but they are expensive, loud, and take up a lot of real estate. You could diy a similar setup again with an inline exhaust fan and some flexible dryer vent.

Ears: any standard foam earplug will do. Earmuffs work but typically have a lower NRR than foam earplugs but are also easier to take on and off with dirty hands. I got custom in-earplugs made a few years ago which again was expensive but are very comfortable and I can wear for hours with no issue. Even low level db sustained noise can cause hearing damage over time.

Side note: you should never ever wear gloves when operating rotary equipment. It’s a good way to lose a finger or even break an arm. The weakest link will always fail first and in the chain of workpieces and machine tools if something goes wrong, your body parts are always the weakest link.

Unrelated to PPE but while we’re here; you should also never remove the guard from an angle grinder. If you are at a shop and they are asking you to complete work with a grinder that doesn’t have a guard, refuse it. You only get one set of fingers.

Other safety stuff: at least one fire extinguisher and fire blanket, eyewash station, first aid kit, and general first aid training are all things you should have. Even if working alone in your shed! Especially if working alone in your shed!


This is a great reminder to order a few extra P100 masks & safety glasses. I’ve too often hidden mine from myself and it’s easy to let it slip instead of spending a minute finding them.