For the people that think eye protection is not a vital component of PPE in the workplace, think again. Eye injuries are one of the leading injuries workers face on the job. Not wearing adequate eye protection leads to serious injuries, or in worst-case scenarios, blindness. Eye injuries alone account for more than $300 million dollars per year in lost medical expenses, worker’s compensation, and lost production time. Welders are one of the prime victims to these types of injury. To ensure the safety of welders in the workplace, we created a list of eye safety tools for welding below!
The Importance of Eye Protection for Welders
Welders face a number of work-related hazards on a daily basis, with eye injury being on the top of the list. These types of injuries can result from:
- Radiation produced by the welding arc
- The intense light produced by the welding arc
- Sparks produced by the welding arc
- Hot slag produced by the welding arc
- Flying particles that fly from the weld during grinding, chipping, or cooling
Lack of protective equipment or the improper use of eye protection is the primary cause of most of these injuries. As such, all welders should have an in-depth understanding of the best safety practices related to eye protection in welding. Below we’ll go over eye safety tools for welding that every welder should know about and use!
Safety glasses are one the most basic yet important forms of eye protection on the market. They protect the eyes from both optical and impact radiation. Safety glasses should be worn under the welding helmet in every welding situation, ALWAYS! The level of protection the glasses offer depends on the filter lens density. It’s recommended that you select the darkest shade possible for maximum eye safety and performance!
Safety welding goggles are an upgraded version of safety glasses as they are created for high-impact protection. They offer better particle and welding light protection. Similar to safety glasses, goggles have several shade numbers on the lens, indicating their level of light/darkness. They’re intended to protect the eyes not only from the optical radiation and heat from the welding process, but also from debris and sparks. While UV and IR wavelengths cannot be seen, they can produce injury without the welder even realizing it immediately. In order to look directly at the light while welding, it’s essential to wear safety goggles with really dark filters.
Welding helmets are a vital piece of PPE that every welder should have. They provide both eye and skin protection from sparks. They also provide adequate protection from vision-damaging UV and infrared rays emitted by the arc while welding. These helmets are designed to accommodate the specific needs and tasks of welders since they meet the safety standards as placed by the regulatory bodies. As a general rule of thumb, welding helmets should be worn over safety glasses of welding goggles and fitted with a suitable filter for the task at hand. There are two types of welding helmets used today:
- Passive/Fixed Shade Helmets – This helmet features a fixed shade that remains darkened at all times.
- Auto-Darkening Helmets – Unlike passive shade helmets, auto-darkening shades automatically change the shade depending on when the welding starts.
Face shields are usually used when higher impact protection is needed. They should always be worn over safety glasses or goggles. They serve similar needs to that of welding helmets; the only difference is the level of impact it supports. They have optical filters that should be suitable for the type of welding that will be done. For example, a filter used for gas welding should not be used for arc welding and so on.
To ensure safety in the workplace, both employers and employees need to recognize the hazards and prevent accidents. In order to prevent accidents or injuries during welding, it’s vital that all welders wear the proper personal protective equipment for their given task. We hope this list of eye safety tools for welding helped you gain knowledge on the necessary safety equipment that all welders should use. If you’re looking for the best welding personal protective equipment for your workers, give Extreme Safety a call at (310) 856-0166 or click here to explore our safety gear and supplies.