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Reducing Frequency, Likelihood, and Severity of Eye Injury Exposures for Welders

- May 10, 2016 by Dan Heinen, ASP (View all posts by Dan)

The risk of foreign bodies in a welder’s eyes is unavoidable, but there are things that you can due to reduce this risk.  It’s critical to minimize the frequency, likelihood and/or severity of this exposures. In this blog, I will review a few ways to reduce your employee’s risks of getting a foreign body in their eyes when welding.

Frequency: The more a welder raises and lowers their hood after the welding process to clean or examine the welded material, the more often they expose themselves to the chance of getting a foreign object in their eyes. What can you do to help minimize this?

  • Require safety glasses to be worn at all times, including under the welding hood
  • Offer different types/styles of safety glasses or goggles that are more comfortable for your employees
  • Change to the auto-darkening style of welding hoods, so employees don’t need to raise the welding hoods as often

Likelihood:  Do working conditions make it that much easier to have an incident? Since they have to weld, what precautions can you take to lower the odds of a welder getting something in their eye?

  • Use an anti-splatter spray, so welds are easier to clean off with minimal chipping when wire feed welding
  • Adjust the air flow in the ventilation system to lower the chance of airborne particles being blown into employees eyes
  • Situate and curtain off the welding station, so employees are protected from each other’s chipping, and grinding

Severity:  Statically incidents are going to happen. What preventive steps can you make to help insure they don’t result in lost time for employees and lower productivity?

  • Train employees  on injury reporting requirements, and the company’s return-to-work policies and procedures
  • Have management actively pursue feedback from employees on ways to make their work areas safer and more productive
  • Encourage employees and supervisors to take an active role when established policies are not followed by  reminding other coworkers to adhere to safety procedures

Of course, automation can also reduce the risk of foreign body exposure, but that is not always feasible, so hopefully one of the options I mentioned above can be implemented at your facility.   The more you can reduce the frequency, likelihood and severity of exposures, the safer your workplace will be.