"Do not look at the welders"

sort of an important ending.

Those welders are BRIGHT!

On Saturday I was flying into Phoenix (up front - note the username) and on the approach I caught sight of something out of my right eye. I looked to the right and saw the light of a welder’s arc - more than two miles away and 2,000 feet below me. This is during broad daylight in Phoenix (OK, it was cloudy, but still).

I can’t remember ever being told specifically to not look at a welder, but I kind of figured it out when the light from one was about as bright as the sun, and I HAD been told to never look at that!

Different processes require different shades of protection. (and produce different brightness/spectrum IIRC)

Oxy/acetyl cutting (torch) wont hurt your eyes near as bad nearly as fast as say SMAW (shielded metal arc welding) will.

But yes you do need protection for it…

Maybe a studly veteran will answer more thoroughly, I’m just learning

Hmm, they could have just put up blinds around the work area.

Similar to one of those temp room dividers that fold out, only built specifically for such things…

When I took Oxy/Acetylene welding in college, we had to wear darkened lenses, just not as dark as ones you would use for electric welding. Thought it was a little odd at first.

I grew up in a family that owned a boat works for over 50 years, arc welding steel tug, barges and fishing boats. I spent a couple of teenaged summers as a welder’s helper, which mostly meant the menial stuff, but occasionaly involved welding myself in certain areas. To injure you eyes by viewing a welding arc was called “catching a flash” and was treated with some sort of ointment kept in the big company first aid kit.

It never happened to me – probably because of all the warnings I got. Most of the older welders had experienced the sensation, and all agreed that it hurt like a sumbitch. That’s one sensation I’m glad I was spared.

Side note: one day I was welding with some gloves that were too small for me, and when I got home that night noticed that several pinhead-sized beads of metal had welded themselves to my watchband. I throught that was cool, and kept the watchband for years.

Arc burn sucks - happens fast when welding aluminum and stainless steel. A cracker like me will skin burn with just one minute of arc on.

Plasma cutters and torches do not require the same shade as electric arc welders. Even with electric arc, the process and amps will dictate different shades. Lots of welders will complain of flash burn. They will complain of headache and temporary blind spots in their peripheral vision. I’ve flashed myself many times and it never seemed to bother me.

Don’t look at the arc and don’t forget about the poisonous fumes.

So what areas of yourself did you weld? And how long did it take to heal?

Yeah I flashed myself at least three times this week alone, however I think what gets most welders is the accidental prolonged indirect exposure.

Ex: I worked at a local mill as a holewatch years ago,one day I was watching for a welder in a cylindrical tank.

That night he went to the hospital with flash burns(eyes), it was determined the light was reflecting off the inside of the tank (behind him) then off the inside of his hood to the eyes. (as you may know you dont feel it till later) I heard it was extremely painful.

Oh when doing any type of arc your strongly advised not to wear any bright clothing, so as to prevent any light from reflecting off your clothing and up under your hood.

So how far away must you be to be able to look at a welder safely?

That would depend on the process you’re using, your total exposure time, the base metal(s) involved, the current you’re running, and the shielding gas you’re using. See Table 1 from this link: