If you’re a welder you’ll know about photokeratitis, otherwise known as Welder’s Flash, and the need for proper personal protective equipment but the person who’s giving you a hand might not and may use ineffective improvised ‘protection’. The result is that later, and it can be several hours, the victim experiences pain, a sensation
of dirt particles, photophobia, and difficulty opening eyes.
A recent safety alert from the International Association of Drilling Contractors highlights the issue:
“While welders were making modifications to the lines and collector for an additional mud tank. A welder’s assistant was assisting the welder by holding the lines and collectors of the centrifuge pump so that they could be welded in place. The helper wasn’t wearing the appropriate PPE (welding shield) instead he improvised his own mask using his dark safety glasses and a piece of dark glass (obtained from a broken
welder’s mask). Every time the welder struck an arc, the helper would place the improvised shield in front of his face. Due to the inadequate improvised shield, the worker later suffered welder’s flash in both eyes.
WHAT CAUSED IT:
Welder’s helper did not use welding shield and appropriate PPE for welding.
Welder didn’t stop the operation so that the proper PPE could be used.
CORRECTIVE ACTIONS: To address this incident, this company did the following:
Instructed site supervisors to:
Conduct periodic safety audits to verify that welders are following a thorough JSA.
Conduct a safety talk specific to safe welding operations by immediate supervision.
Supervision must verify a welder’s hood and shield for welding operations are being used by the welder as well as the welder’s helper.
Encourage employees to follow operational and safety procedures by utilizing a SMART Card (Stop Work) and routine PPE inspections.
Download the safety alert here.