WH&S – welder’s flash

With our roots firmly planted in the manufacturing trades and boiler-making well represented, from time to time apprentices will incur flash burn also known as welder’s flash. Flash burns cause a painful inflammation of the cornea (the clear tissue that covers the front of the eye), which is much like sunburn to the eye and can affect both your eyes.

Flash burn is a result of your eyes being exposed to bright ultraviolet (UV) light from sources such as direct sunlight, lightning, extremely bright lights and most commonly a welding torch.

Symptoms of welder’s flash include mild to severe pain, bloodshot eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision and a feeling there is something in your eye.

Generally, the cornea will repair itself over one to two days without any permanent damage to your eyes, although if welder’s flash isn’t treated correctly, an infection may occur which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Welder’s flash is easily prevented by wearing a welding mask that is made to Australian standards such as those supplied by 1300apprentice. When in the outdoors, around water and snow in particular, always wear sunglasses that protect from UV A and B light such as glasses with polarised lenses. 

If you happen to incur welder’s flash, seek medical treatment immediately and then contact your field officer. Follow up appointments should be made for 24-48 hours after the incident to ensure your eyes are healing and that no infection has set in.

Source: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/edfactsheets/eye-injury-flashburns.pdf

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