Welders face a variety of occupational hazards on a regular basis, from hazardous bright light to burns from molten metal. Most welding injuries are caused by radiation and strong light emitted by welding arcs. Sparks, hot slag, and other flying particles can also cause this problem when grinding, chipping, or cooling the weld.
To reduce the risk of eye damage, all welders must be aware of the best safety practices for welding eye protection. The best eye safety practices consist of using personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the eyes while at work.
Basic Eye Safety Tools
A good eye protection program includes safety goggles, safety glasses, welding helmets, and faceshields that are appropriate for welders. Wear eye protection appropriate to the welding process and the job’s visual requirements.
1. Safety Glasses
Your eyes will be protected against optical and impact radiation when you wear safety glasses. Wearing a pair of them will become a second nature as time goes by.
Good safety glasses should incorporate side shields to provide comprehensive protection to both the front and sides of the eyes. Your pair of safety glasses should be comfortable and it should comply with national safety standards.
Your safety glasses should be comfortable, and they should meet OSHA safety regulations.
Additionally, you should wear a welding helmet, safety goggles, and a hand-held face shield.
2. Safety Goggles
Safety goggles come with direct or indirect venting. Direct vent goggles have small openings on the sides that help reduce fogging. The indirect vent goggles for high dust and splash environments in which fogging prevention is not a priority.
If there are fumes, mists, dust, or gases present, you can also use chemical goggles. Furthermore, these goggles come with vents that keep liquids from entering your eyes.
3. Welding Helmets
Welders need welding helmets for personal protection. Besides shielding the skin and eyes from severe sparks, it also protects against vision-damaging infrared and ultraviolet rays. The welding helmet should be worn over welding goggles or safety glasses, and it should have a filter shade appropriate for the type of welding being performed.
There are two types of welding helmets:
Passive/Fixed Shade Helmets
These helmets have a permanent shade that stays dark. They are rated to fit various welding needs, so you should choose a shade that offers the appropriate level of eye protection.
An auto-darkening helmet will automatically change its color from what is believed to be inactive to active when a welding arc is triggered. These helmets darken within milliseconds, shielding you from hazardous emissions at all times.
Face shields provide additional impact protection and must be worn over safety goggles and glasses. They are designed to protect a welder’s face as well as his or her eyes. Face shields, like welding helmets, are generally elevated, leaving the eyes unprotected in the absence of safety goggles/glasses.
Faceshields will come with filters that protect against visual radiation. They will also guard against sparks and debris. Optical filters should be selected according to the type of welding being performed. For example, arc welding filters should not be used for gas welding. For improved vision, choose a faceshield with self-dimming features.
It is important to cover your entire body when welding. When welding, radiation from the arc rays and the metal might spark or splatter, resulting in burns. Choose clothing made of long-lasting materials such as wool, leather, or heavy cotton. A welding cap or doo-rag can further protect your head.
Tips for Using Eye Protection Equipment
Having determined what you need, there are several basic steps you can take to prevent eye damage on the job. The following suggestions can be implemented in your workplace:
Stay on top of OSHA requirements
- Keep up-to-date on changes to welder regulations to remain safe on the job. These rules are critical for you to understand and should always be followed.
Watch out for your coworkers
- If you wish to protect your eyes from welding injuries, you should stay at least 50 feet away from someone who is welding and wear a welding helmet and safety glasses.
Invest in new safety gear
- It may be time to replace your welding helmet if it has seen better days. When it comes to eye protection, you want nothing but the best.
Make sure your eyes are healthy
- Visit your eye doctor to ensure that you do not require glasses and that you do not have persistent eye problems as a result of welding.
Maintain a well-ventilated workspace
- Among other hazards, gas and fumes can irritate your eyes. Keep your work area well-ventilated so your eyes are protected.
Protect Your Eyes While You Are Welding
Using protective equipment will always ensure that eye injuries caused by welding are not permanent. Welding helmets and safety glasses may be uncomfortable at times or too dark at others, but they are much better at protecting you from molten metal flying into your eyes. Wearing proper eye protection and knowing the hazards of welding helps you to stay safe on the job.