arc welding process emits UV rays and bright flashes that can burn your
exposed skin in a matter of minutes and cause significant discomfort
and damage to
your eyes, let alone the sparks that could cause long term damage.
During preheating and welding metal is heated to high temperatures and
the welding arc emits extremely concentrated rays that can cause sun
burns very quickly.
It's very easy to get
burned during the welding process, but thankfully, these burns are also
extremely easy to prevent if you take proper precautions. If you are
burned or flashed, we'll provide some tips on treatment, though all
treatment advice should be cleared with your own doctor who is able to
inspect your injuries.
Burns and Welding Helmets
on the type of welding you're doing, you will need the right lens for
your visor or helmet.
Mig welding requires a #10 lens while arc welding generally calls for a
#12 filter. TIG welding is usually done with a #11 filter lens. Make
sure you have the right visor for the job. The ultra violet light
generated from welding is extremely bright, and it can cause sever
damage to your eyes if you don't have eye protection. Retinal flash
burns are common for those who do
not wear the right kind of visor.
are sometimes used for cutting applications, but it's often better to
wear something that provides complete protection to your face and hair
such as a shield or helmet with grinding and cutting screen options.
There are some "hair on fire" stories out there! There also are stories
of welders who thought they could cheat by closing their eyes while
making a few quick welds. The problem is, they then burned their eye
The right helmet will have a viewing area that provides UV
protection and covers your entire face. The best protection from flash
will be a helmet that provides auto-darkening through a series of 2-4
sensors and a series of shade settings so that you have excellent
visibility and protection whenever a flash occurs. If you're using a
particular shade while you're working and a flash occurs, an
auto-darkening helmet will adapt to the brightness of the flash and
protect your eyes so you can keep working comfortably.
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Burns and Welding Gloves
you search online for pictures of TIG welders, you'll often find
welders feeding in the wire with one bare hand, which is never a good
idea when you're working with the UV rays and sparks emitted while arc
welding. MIG and stick welding produce sparks and spatter that can burn
your hands, and if you're feeding TIG wire, the UV rays from the arc
can still burn your exposed skin. Ever try feeding a wire with
There are different material thicknesses and types of leather
depending on which
welding glove you choose. The best glove will protect your
hand from the heat, spatter, and sparks emitted while welding. Some
welders add extra pieces of flame-resistant material to the parts of
their hands that are closest to the welding arc.
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Burns and Welding Clothing
important rule for welding clothing is to avoid synthetic fabrics,
since any sparks that land in synthetic clothing will catch fire and
burn you quickly. 100% cotton clothing is your best option for welding
since the sparks will just smolder a little in cotton.
Heavy duty boots that are static electricity resistant will also keep
your feet safe. If you're working with heavy metal workpieces, then a
steel toe boot will be your best option.
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Burns and Welding Bibs, Jackets, and Aprons
you weld in a colder climate, a leather work jacket is a great option
for welders who want to protect themselves from sparks. If you're
working in a warmer climate there are many different kinds of flame
resistant jackets available. Depending on the process you're using, you
may not need a heavy duty apron or jacket.
Also, if you're welding
at a work station, you can attach a bib to your helmet and wear welding
sleeves to protect your arms. You can also wear an apron to protect
yourself with something that is a bit more light-weight if you're
welding in a warmer climate or workshop. Aprons focus the protective
material where it matters most.
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Burns and Welding Materials
not let the hot electrode come in contact with bare skin. It is
extremely hot and can scorch your skin in an instant. Also make sure
to remove all hot metal pieces from the work station after you are done
welding a particular piece. If you need to cool off your metal
workpiece, keep your gloves on until you're done handling it.
Burns and Welding Workstations
innocent woven rug off to the side or a pile of sawdust nearby your
welder can catch sparks, smolder, and catch fire after you're done
welding. There are many commonesense practices that can protect you
from burns or worse while welding, such as always making sure your work
area is clear of flammable liquids or gases that could ignite while you
How to Treat Welding Burns
you're burned, there is nothing to do other than try to make yourself
more comfortable. Prevention is the best strategy when it comes to
treating welding burns. However, if you do get burned,
you need to assess how severe it is. If you have any open
wounds, be sure
to treat them with disinfectant. More serious burns should be checked
out by a doctor who may also be able to give you something to ease the
In most cases, you'll need to just apply something to
cool the intense sunburn that arc welding causes to exposed skin. Some
use aloe vera, but it's generally agreed that a topical steroid will
bring a lot more relief. It will be well worth going to a doctor just
to get the right treatment for your burns. You may also contact your
local pharmacy to find out if there are any over the counter remedies
such as hydrocortinsone that may provide some relief to your burns.
How to Treat Welder's Flash
most important thing you can do for any eye injury that results from
welding is to consult an eye doctor. There are plenty of old tricks and
opinions about how to cut corners with an eye injury, but the problem
is you need a first hand opinion on the best treatment for your eyes.
Most eye doctors will give you eye drops and make sure your eye isn't
infected, but other than that, you will most likely need to just keep
your eyes shut and let them heal. If you are flashed, keep your eyes
closed and avoid rubbing them in order to prevent further
Some welders have found that
strips of wet gauze on top of their closed eyes can be soothing after
being flashed. In
addition, it's often recommended to sleep with your eyes covered just
to ensure your eyes aren't exposed to any light. In addition, wear
sunglasses when you go outside until you're absolutely sure that your
eye is fully recovered.
Learn More About Welding Burns and Welding Safety
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