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Welding is a dangerous task that requires the use of many layers of safety protection. According to Seattle Pacific University, the best welding safety gear includes goggles, a face mask with a dark window, a protective hat made of flame-resistant materials, long pants and sleeves and welding leathers to protect the arms, legs and torso from sparks, heat and dripping metal. If a welding mask is not worn, serious consequences can occur that can not only cause injuries, but can also disable a person for the rest of his life.
The welding iron produces two different kinds of radiation. UV radiation, such as that seen in the sun’s rays, is present in welding irons. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can cause skin cancer. Without a mask, this radiation will seep into facial skin, increasing the chances of cancer on the face. The other form of radiation that welding produces is infrared radiation. Infrared radiation is the same kind of radiation used to kill cancer and heat food inside a microwave. This form of radiation may cause internal damage to the body. A mask can help reduce the amount of infrared radiation absorbed by the body.
Looking at the bright welding light without a mask will cause permanent damage to the eyes. One of the main side effects of looking at a welding light is extreme light sensitivity. It may be impossible to weld again and difficult to see in sunlight and other bright lights.
Prolonged viewing of welding lights without the protective barrier of a mask may create permanent retinal damage including cataracts, trouble seeing and even blindness. If you have viewed welding without protective eyewear, consult with an eye doctor right away to assess any damage that occurred to your eyes.
Without the use of a mask, the extreme heat produced in the welding process hits you right in the face. This is uncomfortable at best and dangerous in some cases. The heat can singe eyebrows and cause blisters to form on the skin.
The sparks from welding are also dangerous when they come in contact with the face. Welding produces sparks that fly up and away from the welding surface. If the sparks reach an exposed face, they can cause deep, serious burns. If the sparks get into a person’s eyes, it is extremely painful and may even cause blindness.