Page 33 - MetalForming March 2011
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 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that hospital emergency rooms treat 10,800 eye injuries related to various types of welding equipment and processes every year. One welder-safety solution gaining in popularity: helmets with auto- darkening filters.
Operators performing welding, soldering and brazing suffer more work-related injuries than do those in most other occupations, accord- ing to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which points to welding torches as the source of more than 1200 eye injuries per year.
Anyone who welds for a living knows the importance of proper personal pro- tection. A properly worn, high-quality welding helmet protects the wearer’s eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV ) and infrared (IR) radiation during the weld- ing process. Without proper protec- tion, welders may suffer from arc burn, arc flash or welding flash—similar to sunburn of the eye.
Kristy Giebe is product manager, welding, Kimberly-Clark Professional, Roswell, GA:
A single welder can save an average of 4 min./hr. using a helmet with an auto-darken- ing filter, rather than a passive helmet. Based on an average labor rate of $16.5/hr., that productivity gain allows a metalformer to save about $1.10 for every hour welders wear an ADF helmet. Extrapolate those figures and it’s possible to recover the investment in an ADF helmet in just a few weeks.
Eye damage can occur quite a dis- tance away from the welding task, and can happen in less than a second of exposure, so welders are not the only workers at risk—bystanders would be wise to wear appropriate protection as well. In addition, eye injuries during welding aren’t limited to arc burn. Other risks come from flying metal, slag from chipping, dirt and particles from grinding. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 10,800 eye injuries related to weld- ing equipment are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year.
Protection is Not an Option
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is clear:
At no time should the welding arc be observed without eye protection. The agency also requires, under Standard 29 CFR1910.133, that employers ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye/face hazards typ- ical in the welding process, including flying particles, molten metal, chemi- cal gases or vapors, or potential injuri- ous light radiation.
The cost of not providing employees with the appropriate personal protec- tive equipment (PPE), in the form of welding helmets, is staggering. While figures specific to welders are not read- ily available, it is estimated that work- place eye injuries in general cost more than $300 million/yr. in lost production
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 ADF Helmets

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