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Eye and Face Protection eTool

Selecting PPE for the Workplace Optical Radiation

Light Radiation

Laser work and similar operations create intense concentrations of heat, ultraviolet, infrared, and reflected light radiation. A laser beam, of sufficient power, can produce intensities greater than those experienced when looking directly at the sun. Unprotected laser exposure may result in eye injuries including retinal burns, cataracts, and permanent blindness. When lasers produce invisible ultraviolet, or other radiation, both employees and visitors should use appropriate eye protection at all times.

Determine the maximum power density, or intensity, lasers produce when workers are exposed to laser beams. Based on this knowledge, select lenses that protect against the maximum intensity. The selection of laser protection should depend upon the lasers in use and the operating conditions. Workers with exposure to laser beams must be furnished suitable laser protection. [29 CFR 1926.102(b)(2)]

Personal protective equipment devices for optical radiation hazards:

Lens Requirements

When selecting filter lenses, begin with a shade too dark to see the welding zone. Then try lighter shades until one allows a sufficient view of the welding zone without going below the minimum protective shade.

Welding Protection

Welder

The intensity of visible light and radiant energy produced by welding operations varies depending on the task, the electrode size, and the arc current. Workers involved in welding, cutting, and brazing operations must use appropriate welding protection depending on specific welding operations. [29 CFR 1926.102(a)(5)]

Only filter lenses with the appropriate shade number will provide protection against optical radiation. Filter lenses must coincide to specific radiant energy exposure. Welding protectors are constructed of heat resistant material such as vulcanized fiber or fiberglass and fitted with a filtered lens to protect workers eyes from burns caused by infrared or other intense radiant energy. These devices protect the eyes and face from flying sparks, metal spatter, and slag chips produced during welding, brazing, soldering, and cutting.

Welding helmets are secondary protectors intended to shield the eyes and face from optical radiation, heat, and impact. Use welding helmets in addition to primary protection such as safety spectacles or goggles to provide adequate protection.

Figure 1. Stationary Window

Figure 1. Stationary Window

Stationary Windows:

  • May include easily removable filter and cover plates.
  • Are available in many filter lens shades in order to provide appropriate protection.
Figure 2. Lift-front Windows

Figure 2. Lift-front Windows

Lift-front Windows:

  • Include an adjustable feature, which allows the user to lift the window.
  • May include easily removable filter and cover plates.
  • Are available in many filter lens shades in order to provide appropriate protection.
Figure 3. Hand Held Shield

Figure 3. Hand Held Shield

Hand Held Shields:

  • May be desired for certain welding operations that allow workers to hold their welding protection.
  • May include easily removable filter and cover plates.
  • Are available in many filter lens shades in order to provide appropriate protection.
Figure 4. Welding Goggles

Figure 4. Welding Goggles

Welding Goggles:

  • Use filter lenses to protect the eyes from optical radiation.
  • Include an adjustable strap.
  • Do not provide face protection.
  • Available in eyecup or cover types.
Figure 5. Headgear

Figure 5. Headgear

Headgear:

  • Supports the window and secures the the device to the worker's head.
  • Welding helmets are heat and electricity insulated and flame resistant.

Lasers

Laser Safety

Laser work and similar operations create intense concentrations of heat, ultraviolet, infrared, and reflected light radiation. A laser beam, of sufficient power, can produce intensities greater than those experienced when looking directly at the sun. Unprotected laser exposure may result in eye injuries including retinal burns, cataracts, and permanent blindness. When lasers produce invisible ultraviolet, or other radiation, both employees and visitors should use appropriate eye protection at all times.

Determine the maximum power density, or intensity, lasers produce when workers are exposed to laser beams. Based on this knowledge, select lenses that protect against the maximum intensity. The selection of laser protection should depend upon the lasers in use and the operating conditions. Workers with exposure to laser beams must be furnished suitable laser protection. [29 CFR 1926.102(b)(2)]

Figure 6. Laser Safety Lenses

Figure 6. Laser Safety Lenses

Every pair of laser safety spectacles or goggles must bear a label with the following information:

  • Windows are available in both removable or lift-front designs:
    • Removable windows allow the replacement of damaged windows.
    • Lift-front windows may be raised, as needed, or left in the lowered position.

The following table shows the maximum power or energy density for which adequate protection is afforded by safety goggles of optical densities from 5 through 8. [29 CFR 1926.102(b)(2)(i)]

Intensity, CW maximum power density [watts/cm(2)]


Attenuation

Optical Density (O.D.)

Attenuation Factor

10(-2)

5

10(5)

10(-1)

6

10(6)

1.0

7

10(7)

10.0

8

10(8)

When lasers emit radiation between two measures of power density (or light blocking capability) lenses must be provided that offer protection against the higher of the two intensities.

Glare Protection

Control Glare with:

  • Special-Purpose Spectacles that include filter or special-purpose lenses to provide protection against eye strain.
  • Changes in your work area or lighting.
  • Tinted eyeglass lenses or visor-type shade.
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