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OK I understand that you need to wear a respirator when forge welding, and to stay away from galvanized metals and zinc, period. But what about when I forge (charcoal), or use my belt sander and grinder?
Do you still need to wear one?
I have yet to see anyone use them yet in a video while forging, but I want to make sure.

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I would be more worried about the respirator during grinding woods, bone etc that give off particulate matter. I use a dust mask when I'm sorting and sifting my charcoal though as there is a lot of fine particulate dust. After that, there's very little dust stirred up when I scoop it out and none when forging so I don't bother. Borax may irritate, it does me, but you don't neccessarily need a mask depending on your ventilation and the amount of forge welding. ventilation is also important for the smoke and other noxious gases that may be created as well. Other fluxes you may need to though (read the directions). Other than the heat, sweat and awkwardness, it does no harm if you want to wear it all the time I suppose.

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safety gear is always a good idea

eye protection all the time and hearing protection most of the time

respirator we should use it more often than many of us do, there are many kinds some for dust and others for toxic fumes and even fresh air supplied when it really gets nasty

Edited by johnptc
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I have yet to see anyone use them yet in a video while forging, but I want to make sure.

The videos that start off *Hey, y'all, watch this !!* are warning enough. Just because it is a video and on the internet does not mean the information is correct, the technique is right OR actions depicted are safe. They use stunt people in the movies for a reason. Have you ever seen at the end of the movie a list of injuries or deaths that occurred in the filming of the movie?

Look at the old industrial movies and ask yourself, if that were being done today, how long would it take before OSHA would show up and shut the place down?

It has been said before and I will say it again:
Make a list of all the body parts you can do without and then sign and date the list. It is up to you to protect anything not on the list. Personal safety is just that, your taking responsibility for YOUR personal safety.
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A few facts about respirators.

In order to use an air purifying respirator properly you must be fit tested for that particular brand of respirator. It must fit your face tightly with no leaks.

Then you must know the type contaminant(s) in the air in order to select the proper filter cartridges. If you are not sure of all the contaminants they make some that catch a wide range of contaminants including particulates (dusts).

You must also know the concentration of the contaminants in the air because air purifying respirators only protect you from a concentration of contaminants that is 10 times the Permisslble Exposure Limit. This limit is set by OSHA and varies from substance to substance. In a high concentration of contaminants in the air you could still suffer exposure to the contaminants even though you are wearing a respirator.

It is impossible to know the concentration of contaminants in the air without some expensive IH monitoring. I realize that not many of us can afford that. If we have a one man shop we are not governed by OSHA Regulations, however if we employ workers we are.

Adequate ventilation is a must to keep contaminants in the air to a minimum.

If you are guessing at what type of respirator you need, fail on the side of safety, it is better to get more protection than you need than try to save a few bucks and end up with less than you need and thereby expose yourself to toxic contaminants.

Make sure that any respirator that you buy is OSHA/MSHA certified.

Change the filter canisters frequently, they start absorbing moisture out of the air as soon as their sealed package is opened and they are installed. Keep the respirator in a tightly sealed plastic bag when not in use. This will extend the canister life.

Clean the respirator throughly after each use.

Note: This post does not condone the use of an air purifying respirator in any atmosphere where the contamaminants and the concentration thereof have not been established by properly conducted IH monitoring.

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I would add the following:
1. A paper dust mask is NOT a respirator. A respirator is a rubber hafl or full face mask with filters.
2. The agency that certifies respirators and filters is NIOSH.
The first thing to do is to engineer out the hazard, IE ventalation, or don't make the contaiminet airborne.
3.If a respirator is to be used, it is wise to check with your doctor. In industry, a respirator physical is required.
4. a respirator fit test is required in industry. If a home use, check the fit, every time you put the mask on. Do this by covering the inhalation valve with you hand and sucking in. No air should leak in, the mask should just suck down on your face.
5. Facial hair along the seal line of the mask will preclude a seal.
6. For dust and particulate where oil mist is not an issue a N-95 dust and particulate filter should take care of weld fume. A P-95 is for where oil mist is present.
7. A N-100 or P-100 is even better, but much more expensive.
8. Neither of the above are for solvent or other vapors. (vapors are evaporated liquids, Fume is smoke.)
9 In some cases combination filters that will filter particulate and organic vapors like paint vapors are available. In some cases the filters can be stacked. Stacked filters are harder to inhale through.

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Saiga, to make it simple, dust inhaled, of any kind is bad for you. We breathe dust in the air we breath every day, but our body has natural defenses against the normal dust we are exposed to. When we are in an area that has dust at levels above what our bidy can defend against, or dust that is more toxic that the naturally occuring dust, then yes, we should protect ourselves.
If one smokes tobacco etc, the naturally occuring defenses are reduced or stopped. That is the reason asbestos is so hard on smokers.

I am an industrial safety guy, and I wear a P-100 respirator when I am using a grinder, sander, or powered wire wheel. I wear an organic vapor cartridge when painting.

I also have extremely good ventilation in my shop. The coal forge has a side draft hood the works well, the gasser sits under a 24" turbine vent in the roof, and I have a number of make up air sources.

It is always a bad idea to weld or burn off galvanized or other plated metals.

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