Machine Tools & Metal Working Blog Blog

Machine Tools & Metal Working Blog

The Machine Tools & Metal Working Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about metal cutting, tools & fixturing, metal forming, grinding, industrial machine control and anything else related to the metalworking industry. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: Using Epilog Laser Equipment to Create PPE during COVID-19 Crisis   Next in Blog: Why Will a Laser be the Most Popular Tool in My Makerspace?
Close
Close
Close
19 comments

What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

Posted July 05, 2020 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: radwell Welding

Welding arc flash is a burn of the outer layers of the eyeball caused by the intense ultra-violet radiation generated by welding. A common cause of arc flashes in the industrial industry is when someone looks directly at the welding area without wearing protective eye gear. Directly looking at the UV radiation generated by the electric welding arcs causes a painful inflammation of the cornea. This is commonly referred to as ‘welder’s eye’ or ‘arc eye.’

Basically, welding arc flash is like sunburn on your eyes. Like sunburn, cells are killed and need to be replaced. Someone with this type of eye injury will experience a “gritty” feeling in their injured eye. This is due to the dead cells being shed from the surface of the eye.

The best way to avoid exposure to arc flash is by placing a barrier between humans and the welding area.

For non-welders, a welding curtain protects them from the welding area. A welding curtain is a screen that encloses the welding operation and filters welding light radiation and particles. This is only suitable protection for someone who is outside of the welding area.

For someone directly in the welding area, eye protection is mandatory. The best eye protection is a welder’s helmet. A welder’s helmet covers a welder’s face to protect from sparks and flying materials. It has a special darkened eye shield to prevent the cornea from being damaged by ultraviolet light. Every welding helmet includes a lens shade through which the welder looks. The lens shade is heavily darkened and is a polarized lens that only lets in a certain amount of light.

Although welding can be interesting to watch, it is important to wear protective eye gear before observing a welder at work in order to avoid eye injury.


Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Radwell International.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9091
Good Answers: 1036
#1

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/05/2020 11:05 AM

Auto-darkening welding helmets allow normal vision and darken when an arc is present. A light sensor applies a voltage to a liquid crystal placed between two polarizers. When energized, the liquid crystal rotates the plane of polarization causing the polarizers to be "crossed", the same principle used in LCD displays.

https://www.awsi.com.au/blog/how-do-3m-auto-darkening-filters-work

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 247
Good Answers: 4
#7
In reply to #1

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 12:25 PM

So, there are screens that could become almost opaque with strong light, but become transparent when bright light is switched off .

i hope these will be not very costly for developing countries .

How fast is the transition please ?

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9091
Good Answers: 1036
#8
In reply to #7

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 12:37 PM

i hope these will be not very costly for developing countries

https://www.amazon.com/auto-darkening-welding-helmet/s?k=auto+darkening+welding+helmet

How fast is the transition please ?

" Within 0.1 milliseconds of the arc being struck, the photosensors on the front of the lens activate the front liquid crystal panel which darkens the lens to your pre-selected dark state."

https://www.awsi.com.au/blog/how-do-3m-auto-darkening-filters-work

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 191
Good Answers: 9
#2

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/05/2020 10:19 PM

I always wear clear safety glasses (100% UV filtering) under my helmet, since you can never be sure when you are going to make accidental contact.

I have never got "sandy" eyes since I started doing this.

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 247
Good Answers: 4
#3

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/05/2020 10:38 PM

Simplest way of prevention is no exposure or looking away from the welding if you are not doing the welding .

However chance exposure, when you are holding the parts tone welded, are frequent .

i found putting a few drops of Rose water immediately after the exposure helps just a little . On the other hand, a few drops of human breast milk does wonders, as I have experienced .

Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Under the spreading Bunya Trees, South Burnett, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 623
Good Answers: 58
#4
In reply to #3

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 3:07 AM

The smartest way to protect your assistant is to supply them with an autodarkening helmet. Cheap insurance for their safety considering the cheapest helmets still switch quickly without the grossed up outlay of named helmets. I now use wide angle helmets with large viewing apatures.

__________________
Hare today, goon tomorrow!
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: North West England
Posts: 1170
Good Answers: 152
#5

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 7:11 AM

If you have done a full risk assessment you will have come up with the following ways of avoiding welding flash.

1 Don't weld. Screw, glue or rivet as an alternative method of fixing. No welds, no flash.

2 Restrict the area so that non-essential personnel cannot enter. If they are not present there is no need for other preventative measures.

3 Common safety provision. Provide welding screens to create a segregated area.

4 Personal safety provision. Provide PPE. Welding helmets or wrap around welding safety glasses, along with the safety boots, gloves and leather aprons or jackets.

5 Make sure that visitors are educated of the dangers involved in welding, flash, sparks, hot surfaces, and establish a routine and safe distances from the work piece, behind the screen or out of the area. All the preventative measures in the world are of no use if those they are intended for don't know how to use them. Get into the habit of shouting "FLASH" just prior to striking an arc so that anyone not adequately protected has time to and knows that they need to look away.

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 397
Good Answers: 3
#6

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 8:38 AM

When I first got out of High school I got a job at a rail car manufacturer where welding was done all over the plant, not knowing or being informed about the risk of "flash" I became a victim. The treatment I was told by veterans at the plant was to cut a raw potato in slices and apply to your open eyes for a few minutes this seemed to help but was not a cure all. Needless to say I wore sun glasses the rest of the time I worked at that plant which was only for the summer. On another note I got a job painting a latrine at another plant and while painting and unbeknown to Me around a UV disinfectant light, which was turned upward, I naturally looked into the light while painting around it. This also caused a "flash" burn. The thing about "flash" burns is You don't know you have them until You wake up the day after and have that sand in Your eyes feeling.

oilcan13

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 247
Good Answers: 4
#9
In reply to #6

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/06/2020 12:49 PM

Right you are . It strikes after an hour of restless sleep and you had it . I used to tie a soft towel tight, on the eyes, which did help , till morning, when some eye drops or breast milk could be obtained from kindly neighbours .

Iam not sure my eyes were unduly affected by the tight bandage , since my eye sight with glasses, of course is oK .

I am 80 .

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 44.56024"N 15.307971E
Posts: 6589
Good Answers: 251
#10
In reply to #9

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/07/2020 7:33 AM

If you do a lot of welding,you can get severely sunburned through your

clothing,especially doing MIG,or TIG welding.Been there-done that.

Pull off your shirt,and there are outlines where the buttons were.

Wear appropriate clothing and a leather welders apron if doing production welding.

Welding helmet lenses come in different darkness grades,so choose the right one for your work.

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHAfactsheet-eyeprotection-during-welding.pdf

I prefer the fixed lens(Non auto-darkening) because even the brief delay of the auto-darkening lenses can cause damage in long term.

Just takes a while to develop the neck muscles and timing to dip the hood many times a day.

__________________
"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child." "Never argue with a stupid person.They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 44.56024"N 15.307971E
Posts: 6589
Good Answers: 251
#11
In reply to #9

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/07/2020 7:37 AM

Beware of the cheapest brand; they usually have a slower darkening time, which can have a long term effect on eye health. Check the specifications before buying.

__________________
"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child." "Never argue with a stupid person.They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 44.56024"N 15.307971E
Posts: 6589
Good Answers: 251
#12
In reply to #9

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/07/2020 7:37 AM

duplicate posted in error

__________________
"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child." "Never argue with a stupid person.They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NASA-Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 389
Good Answers: 17
#14
In reply to #9

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/09/2020 8:39 AM

so whats up with you and the breast milk? some sort of fetish?

"squirt it in my eyes!" specially going door to door... hell round here that'll get you 3 hots and a cot.

wouldn't cow milk do the same thing? or if not sacred cow how about goat, hell what about snake milk? i heard of people milking a snake..

sorry guys, been pent-up too long!!

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 247
Good Answers: 4
#15
In reply to #14

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/09/2020 9:05 AM

You may be right . But in our country, only human milk is used . Why I don’t know . You may try snake milk and see the results.

When some one reports something, it has become a fashion - or passion , to deride .

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NASA-Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 389
Good Answers: 17
#16
In reply to #15

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/10/2020 7:05 AM

i was joking.. kinda.

it is quite taboo to ask a woman for breast milk. probably shouldn't be, but there are lots of things in the USA that probably shouldn't be.

What country are you from? Does anyone use the products that are breast milk substitutes, like Similac or Enspire?

I know it is more than half of woman use formula here, mostly out of convenience.

I wonder if the formula would work for arc flash burn?

I think if i asked a woman with an infant and asked for breast milk, i would get a plastic bag with some powder in it.

things that one never thinks about.

thanks for sharing this

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 247
Good Answers: 4
#17
In reply to #16

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/10/2020 8:35 AM

We in India have almost always some woman in the neighbourhood suckling an infant . This sort of request for a spoonful is never considered odd.

More civilised you become, formula feed comes in faster. That is the bane of civilisation. Women seldom use their ....S for the purpose they were created (Developed if you don’t believe in creation )

Any way thanks for your post .

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NASA-Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 389
Good Answers: 17
#19
In reply to #17

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/14/2020 2:32 PM

I am sure it is the better way to go for the children. i think we were considered civilized but that has since went to the wayside.

Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20974
Good Answers: 781
#13

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/09/2020 1:02 AM

You are confusing "arc flash" with "flash burns".

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20974
Good Answers: 781
#18

Re: What is Welding Arc Flash and How Can it be Prevented?

07/10/2020 10:56 AM

One treatment for flash burns (not arc flash) is Pontocaine hydrochloride, a topical anesthetic.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Reply to Blog Entry 19 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Gadepalli Subrahmanyam (5); GJM (1); HiTekRedNek (3); jhhassociates (1); oilcan13 (1); Rixter (2); setlock77 (3); Stef (1); Tornado (2)

Previous in Blog: Using Epilog Laser Equipment to Create PPE during COVID-19 Crisis   Next in Blog: Why Will a Laser be the Most Popular Tool in My Makerspace?

Advertisement