Working for the whole day on the welding system is highly stressful. The eyes quickly become tired due to changing lighting conditions and the high levels of UV radiation. Welding fumes start to affect concentration after four hours at the latest. There is also the danger of “flashing” by the arc, not to mention the rashes and burns that can be sustained during aluminum welding if the welder's jacket collar is not properly closed.
The right equipment provides comprehensive protection
THIS IS HOW TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM THE ARC
A welder has to look into the arc continuously in order to check the weld pool. This exposes the eyes to ultraviolet radiation, infrared radiation and visible rays, which are harmful to health in high concentrations. Reliable eye protection is therefore particularly important, either with a hand shield or a fully automated welding helmet. The second option is much more convenient here, because it means that the welder has both hands free.
EYES “FLASHED” DURING WELDING
Everyone is familiar with the unpleasant sensation of looking directly at the sun. A similar thing happens with the arc, but in this case the radiation is many times higher. Brief eye contact with the arc is usually not a problem: this does dazzle the eye, but is does not sustain any damage and recovers quickly. However, anyone who looks into the arcs repeatedly or for an extended period of time will permanently damage their eyes—this is referred to as “flash burn.” It is not possible to say precisely from what point this effect will occur or how long it will last until the eye recovers from it. As a rule, the symptoms subside after 24 to 48 hours without there being any long-term subsequent damage.
Welders often compare the painful feeling of flash burn to having sand in your eye: sufferers are extremely sensitive to light and prefer to keep their eyes closed. An antibacterial ointment from a pharmacist is usually a very effective way to relieve the pain. It is also recommended that cold compresses be used to cool the eye.
RISK TO HEALTH FROM WELDING FUMES
Welding fumes are a mixture of gases and small particles, which are inhaled through the mouth and nose and may penetrate deep into the lungs. In total, welding fumes contain more than 40 different substances. These come from the processed material itself, from the filler metals or from surfaces such as paints and coatings. They may, among other things, cause breathing difficulties or alter the genetic material so that diseases arise.
THIS IS HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WELDING FUMES:
NO RISK OF ARC TATTOOS AND WELDER'S NECK
The most frequent injuries during welding include burns due to weld or slag spattering, known as an “arc tattoo.” “Welder's neck,” sunburn in the neck area due to the UV radiation produced in arc welding, is also common.
These injuries are, in fact, usually not dangerous but they can also be easily avoided. Thick gloves and long-armed, flame-retardant clothing are part of the basic equipment for any welder. However, in addition to the equipment, correct use is also important: the jacket, for example, should always be fastened up to the top button in order to cover as much skin as possible.