Welders are in an occupation that presents potentially hazardous conditions. There are more than a thousand eye related injuries per day in this industry. The risks are even greater for amateurs who work on home projects who lack the proper training. Although it is a dangerous activity, there are some steps that can be taken to avoid becoming the victim of a welding accident. The following tips will guide you in knowing how to prevent eye injuries when welding.
Common causes of eye injury
The greatest risk factor for welding related eye injury is a lack of training and knowledge of the hazards. It is important to know what can happen when welding and how to safeguard against it. As the metal is super heated through the welding process it is common for particles to fly through the air. Wearing the proper helmet that meets safety standards can deflect the particles so they cannot access the eyes. On the same topic, some welders choose to wear helmets with fixed shade lenses. These must be lifted in order to properly position the welding equipment and then quickly snapped down. When the helmet is not snapped into place quickly enough, hot debris can fly into the eyes.
Welding causes ultraviolet radiation and when the eyes are exposed to it they can become injured. The arcs that form during welding produce bright light flashes which can burn delicate eye tissue and cause damage. The process also causes the development of chemicals, vapors and fumes which can result in irritation to the eyes.
How to avoid eye injury
The Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS for short is useful for identifying any hazards which may exist in the materials being used. One way to avoid eye injury by chemical, vapor and fume exposure is to use exhaust systems and fume hoods while welding. Respirators may also be required in some cases. This can help to prevent overexposure to potentially toxic or irritating byproducts of welding.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause burning and swelling of the corneas of the eyes. This can be very painful causing sensitivity to the light and in extreme cases, blindness. Welders flash caused by the arc can be prevented by wearing a welders helmet that has passed rigorous inspection and is certified as meeting established safety standards. Another important step to take is to make certain that the helmet is firmly in place prior to welding. To some degree, auto darkening lenses can help to lessen the incidence of these types of injuries. Everyone should avoid looking at the arc when welding is in progress because bystanders are frequently injured because of their lack of knowledge of the dangers.
Helmets should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are still in good and functional condition.
If a piece of hot metal is embedded into the eye, it is important to avoid trying to remove the particle. This can cause greater damage to the eye. Wait until medical help arrives and allow professional and qualified medical personnel to perform the removal.
It is important to know that the reverse is true if chemicals or small dust particles get into the eyes. These should be removed immediately by flushing the eyes with clean water until the substance is removed.
Knowledge and safe practices
Trainings should be conducted or obtained to learn about welding safety and how to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to injury. When knowledge is combined with the proper safety equipment and recommended procedures for welding, the chances of eye injury are dramatically lessened.
Eye injuries from welding are too common both in the professional workplace and at home. When the proper steps are taken, these accidents are avoidable. A good working knowledge of the welding process and the potential hazards is useful in raising awareness of the threat. Using the right equipment and safety gear is a requirement. Finally, knowing what to do and what not to do in the event of an injury can help to lessen the damage that can result. Although welding brings its share of risks and hazards, following these recommendations will guide you in how to prevent eye injuries while welding.