Welding Accidents

Welding, Cutting and Brazing Accidents
Injured in a welding accident? Contact a lawyer.

Welding, cutting, and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries. The risk from fatal injuries alone is more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime. Regulations requires the use of personal protective equipment to reduce employees' exposures to hazards of welding. Employers are required to determine all exposures to hazards in their workplace and determine if protective equipment should be used to protect their workers.

Some of the unique hazards associated with welding:

Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is generated by the electric arc in the welding process. Skin exposure to UV can result in severe burns, in many cases without prior warning. UV radiation can also damage the lens of the eye. Many arc welders are aware of the condition known as "arc-eye," a sensation of sand in the eyes. This condition is caused by excessive eye exposure to UV. Exposure to ultraviolet rays may also increase the skin effects of some industrial chemicals (coal tar and cresol compounds, for example).

Exposure to infrared radiation (IR), produced by the electric arc and other flame cutting equipment may heat the skin surface and the tissues immediately below the surface. Except for this effect, which can progress to thermal burns in some situations, infrared radiation is not dangerous to welders. Most welders protect themselves from IR (and UV) with a welder's helmet (or glasses) and protective clothing.

Intense Visible light. Exposure of the human eye to intense visible light can produce adaptation, pupillary reflex, and shading of the eyes. Such actions are protective mechanisms to prevent excessive light from being focused on the retina. In the arc welding process, eye exposure to intense visible light is prevented for the most part by the welder's helmet. However, some individuals have sustained retinal damage due to careless "viewing" of the arc. At no time should the arc be observed without eye protection.

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