Safety Focus of the Week: Flash Protection for Welding
In August, we had welding and torch cutting as a safety focus. This week we are concentrating on PPE for welding and torch cutting.
The most obvious PPE requirements are related to protecting our eyes from the flash, particularly the ultra violet (UV) and infra red (IR) wavelengths which can be harmful to the eyes. The selection for eye protection is summarized in Table 1 of ANSI Z49.1:
The shading (a measurement of absorbance) requirements are based upon the type of work since some welding radiates more intense UV than other types of work. Obviously arc welding emits much more intense UV/IR than plasma cutting, or flame cutting. But, as shown in the reference, the size of the electrode, the amperage, and whether the arc welding operation is stick or MIG also matters. In flame cutting, the intensity of the flame counts so cuts on larger plate require more shading.
In general, one should consult the reference, and should select the darkest shade that allows you to see the weld area without going below the minimum shade.