U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Hot Work
Hazard: Eye Injuries (continued)
A welder working on a warm day in a southern shipyard was perspiring heavily and would frequently stop working,raise his hood and wipe his brow. During one such break, a high speed steel particle thrown by a hand held grinder being operated by another welder working nearby, struck the welder in the left eye, and imbedded itself deeply in the cornea. In immediate pain, the injured welder rubbed the eye, and caused further damage. In this case, the steel sliver was successfully removed and the worker did not permanently lose sight in his left eye. However, his recovery was slow and painful.
Analysis and Preventive Measures
The injured worker had assumed that his welding hood provided all the eye protection he needed. Even though he had safety glasses with him to wear when he had completed his welding task, he did not consider himself at risk when raising his hood to mop his brow. The shipyard did not require that safety glasses be worn under welding hoods or face shields. Safety glasses, with side shields worn under the hood will provide protection to workers whenever the hood is raised. Sweat bands can be used to prevent perspiration from trickling into the eyes, minimizing the workers need to raise the hood to wipe them. The shipyard is a very dynamic work environment and even if no hazard from other flying objects or debris exists when the welder begins his work, conditions can change quickly. For this reason, many shipyards require that safety glasses with side shields be worn in all places at all times, including under welding hoods and face shields.