Why welding flash burns occur, and tips on what to consider doing in case of a flashburn incident... The prototypical image of a welder practicing his craft can conjure images of imminent danger and uncertainty through flying sparks and excess heat.
Like construction workers wielding jackhammers, a welder harnessing electricity in a closed area may evoke some emotion in people. This emotion is easily understood, as welding is one of the more dangerous jobs in the industry f precautions aren't taken.
One of the most common injuries in the welding realm are welding flash burns.
Flash burns are an eye injury that attack the cornea, which is affected when you are exposed to too much bright ultraviolet light that are produced from welding torches. Also known as arc eye and welder's flash, they are equivalent to a sunburn right in your eye.
Although corneas are self healing, untreated flash burns can lead to infection, which in turn, leads to vision loss. Many victims say some instances of flash burn feels like sand has been thrown into their eyes. This doesn't necessarily mean it is always painful.
Symptoms of flash burn can include watery eyes, blurred vision, bloodshot eyes, and light sensitivity.
If you feel strong flash burn during a welding assignment, stop immediately and head straight to the doctor. Advanced stages of flash burn include extreme pain, flash spots, vision changes and blurriness. In this case, a general doctor may prescribe atropine drops which are used to ease your eye muscles and expedite the healing process.
In addition, doctors may advise you to dress the eyes or cover them with dressing to give them a rest. A third option is an antibiotic prescription where an ointment is given to prevent the spread of infection.
If your flash burn is serious enough, doctors may ask to see your eyes again the next day to check for correct healing. Serious problems will get you sent to an eye doctor specialist.
The best way to prevent a welding flash burn is by wearing adequate eye protection. Not only will it reduce infrared and ultraviolet light from hitting the eyes, it protects against flying particles as well.
You want to purchase multifunctional welding helmets that have auto darkening lens shades which adjusts according to your work environment's light intensity. Breathing filters and fog reducers are smart additions as well. In addition, the farther you are away from the arc, the less likely your eyes will become injured from it without protection. Regardless, keep those welding helmets handy.
To avoid flash burn try this. Using a full spectrum sun block of 30 or higher will do the trick. I have been welding for almost 20 yrs and this sun block method is great. By the way, it should be used on the face and neck not the arms. The arms should be covered by regular welding protection.
Don't forget to wear safety glasses that are ansi rated to block uva and uvb rays.
Welding Shop and Welders Arc Flash:
I worked in a welding shop and I could not believe how many welders got ARC FLASH. When they never thought to check their helmets for how good there batteries were. From Jack in Canada