During the welding process, workers can be exposed to radiant energy exposure (also known as optical radiation). It is of vital importance that welders recognize and understand the safety hazards associated with welding to observe safe work practices.
Eye-Related Safety Hazards
The welding process can produce intense light and radiation which can be harmful to workers’ eyes. Some of the hazards associated with welding include:
Welding arcs and flames emit ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation), which can cause damage to the eye, including conjunctivitis, flash burn, and ocular malignancies.
Visible light is intense visible light that passes through the cornea and lens of the eye. In doing so, it can damage retina nerves.
Prolonged exposure to infrared radiation can cause opacity of the eye lens. This damage is irreversible.
Some welding processes, such as shielded metal arc welding and stick welding, produce vitreous material as a by-product of the welding process. This slag can cause injury if exposed to the eye.