This week, Safety Mark took the staff aside to talk about a very present danger in our environment, welder’s flash. Welder’s flash is caused but the UV radiation over a broad range of wavelengths given off by a walking arc. He advised that certain types of UV radiation can produce an injury to the eye surface and mucous membrane. Welder’s flash can present symptoms ranging from pain and a mild feeling of pressure in the eyes, all the way to a severe level of pain. People suffering from welder’s flash often experience tearing and reddening of the eyes and surrounding areas, a sensation of having sand in ones and an abnormal sensitivity to light. In addition, some suffers develop photo-phobia and have difficult looking at light sources.
He explained that there are several factors that are calculated to make a ‘perfect storm’ resulting in a welder’s flash. But assured everybody that just a few second of UV light can cause and arc to the eye and symptoms may not be felt until several hours after the exposure.
When a person has long-term exposure to UV light, the can develop cataracts. A person’s iris can become overwhelmed with the very bright light and develop an inability to sufficiently close the eye lid. This could then develop a chronic fatigue of the eye.
The big picture today was to make certain that everybody is wearing proper welder’s shields. There are also screens between stations to prevent a peripheral UV arc from a neighboring welder. All of our safety glasses have a level of UV coating to help prevent an accidental flash from afar. So even a forklift driver is wearing these glasses when driving through the factory.