Welding is one of the most dangerous jobs in construction. Historically, welders face the risk of eye injury, burns, and electrical shock. Toxic chemicals released from welding rods add an additional risk of nerve, lung, and brain damage. Safety gear can reduce these risks. Unfortunately, workers often don’t wear safety helmets and other gear to protect themselves. This article examines the prevalence of eye injuries in welding and why they occur.
Prevalence of Eye Injuries
Eye injuries account for 25% of welding injuries and are, in fact, the most common welding injuries. Those most at risk for this type of injury include welders in commercial and industrial machinery, fabricated metal products, and computer equipment.
Most of these injuries are preventable with the proper selection of eye protection. A combination of helmets with the right safety goggles or glasses including side shields can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Helmets should meet ANSI Z87.1 standards, fit comfortably, and provide protection for the eyes and face.
Main Types of Eye Injuries in Welding
There are a variety of eye injuries that occur during welding. injuries are sometimes caused by flying particles, radiation, and chemical burns from the welding rod. It’s a job that no one should become complacent in. Wearing safety gear to protect the head and eyes this crucial to mitigating the severity of injuries.
Unfortunately, welders often take off their welding helmets and goggles or glasses because they can’t see properly due to damaged lenses, the need for prescription lenses, or discomfort. Welding related eye injuries may be caused by:
- Flying particles and chip slag that cause physical damage to the eye
- Photochemical or radiation burns due to ultraviolet light and radiation, intense blue light, or infrared radiation associated with welding arcs
- Chemical burns and eye irritation from chemicals and fumes
Welders and supervisors should place an emphasis on education regarding the dangers of the job. Understanding the risk is the first step to implementing an eye protection plan that preserves workers’ health.
Importance of Choosing the Right Welding Helmet
“Created of pressed metal, with a dark screen so as not to reflect light, welding helmets can protect your eyes and skin from the damaging UV and IR rays, as well as intense blue light, all arc emitted, and sparks, there’s no question on them being your PPE priority. Often, welders choose not to wear helmets because of not making the right choice when purchasing, and that’s a huge mistake to start with as they double their chances of retina burns and even blindness,” according to the How Import is Everything site.
In order to avoid accidents and fatalities on the job, supervisors should insist on the proper safety precautions, including the appropriate safety gear for welders.