3M PPE Welding Productivity

How Productivity Can be Improved When the Right PPE is Employed: Shipbuilding and Welding

Productivity is on every employer’s mind when it comes to their operations. But productivity should not come at the cost of safety. Take for instance, Navy shipbuilding, which requires large numbers of welders. The health and safety challenges that accompany this work can often include eye injuries, exposure to welding fume, and heat management.

Historically, Newport News Shipyard (Newport News, VA) has utilized a number of individual pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect their welders. This includes passive welding helmets, grinding shields, elastomeric half-facepiece respirators, protective eyewear, and hearing protection. In 2018, a small study was conducted to evaluate an integrated personal protective PPE solution to help improve welder productivity, safety and comfort, while continuing to meet all applicable U.S. OSHA workplace safety requirements.

3M Welding Productivity PPE

The objective of this study was to compare welder productivity between two differing PPE configurations: the traditional stand-alone welding shield with multiple pieces of additional PPE and an integrated welding system technology that combines multiple PPE components into a unified solution. Productivity was measured using cumulative daily wire consumption per hours worked per welder. Additionally, secondary metrics included weld quality, visibility, ease of use, and comfort that were measured using a survey and interview tool for participating welders.

Welding Journal Shipbuilding Case Study - 3M Welding Productivity PAPR Study

Read the whole study in American Welding Society’s Welding Journal. The journal article includes the sample size, study duration, the methods employed as well as the statistical and data analysis of using these two different PPE configurations.

This study demonstrated a statistically significant increase in welder productivity (as measured by weld wire applied), as well as positive welder assessments of comfort and improved weld quality, plus an opportunity to reduce the potential for eye injuries when comparing the 3M Adflo PAPR system versus using traditional, separate welding PPE components together.

Productivity can be improved when welders have access to the right PPE that can help them accomplish their jobs safely. For help selecting appropriate welding personal protective equipment for your job site and applications, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our health and safety specialists today.