Welding Can Be Hazardous

Welding Can Be Hazardous

Extremely high heat, eye-damaging visible and non visible bright light, flying bits of incandescent metal, high voltage electricity, potentially hazardous atmospheres, gases in flame and gases under pressure. The welder’s life is not a happy one. But, with attention to OSHA regulations and the use of equipment provided by IBT Safety, it can be a less dangerous one.

Welding, cutting, and brazing are hazardous activities that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries. The risk from fatal injuries alone is high. There are, generally, more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.

Some specific dangers, as cataloged by OSHA:

UV: Ultraviolet radiation is generated by the electric arc in the welding process. Skin exposure to UV can result in severe burns, in many cases without prior warning. UV radiation can also damage the lens of the eye. Many arc welders are aware of the condition known as “arc-eye,” a sensation of sand in the eyes. This condition is caused by excessive eye exposure to UV. Exposure to ultraviolet rays may also increase the skin effects of some industrial chemicals (coal tar and cresol compounds, for example).

IR: Exposure to infrared radiation, produced by the electric arc and other flame cutting equipment may heat the skin surface and the tissues immediately below the surface. Except for this effect, which can progress to thermal burns in some situations, infrared radiation is not dangerous to welders. Most welders protect themselves from IR (and UV) with a welder’s helmet (or glasses) and protective clothing.

Intense light: Exposure of the human eye to intense visible light can produce adaptation, pupillary reflex, and shading of the eyes. Such actions are protective mechanisms to prevent excessive light from being focused on the retina. In the arc welding process, eye exposure to intense visible light is prevented for the most part by the welder’s helmet. However, some individuals have sustained retinal damage due to careless “viewing” of the arc. At no time should the arc be observed without eye protection.


Welding PPE exists to help make the job safer and IBT Safety sells the whole kit and caboodle. They have welders gloves, aprons, shoes with hard toes and metatarsal guards, and hats specifically designed for welders. They also offer respirators for those job situations where insufficient ventilation exists to permit total safe welding.

But, most of all, they have Fibre-Metal Welding Helmets.

Products from Fibre-Metal, the leading manufacturer of above the shoulder welding PPE, are now available from IBT Safety. This addition to the IBT Safety line is a consequence of Fibre-Metal’s acquisition by Norcross Safety Products LLC of Oakbrook, Illinois.

The Company will operate as a part of Norcross’ industrial protection business and combine its expertise with Northcross’s North Safety personal protective equipment organization. The combination will increase North’s manufacturing and distribution capabilities, expand and diversify their product offerings, and enhance their ability to serve customers.

Adding Fibre-Metal to the safety offering is a major development, reports Gary Porter, IBT Safety Group Marketing Manager. “These products have achieved the highest scores in studies of welder satisfaction. Fibre-Metal welding helmets have the quality that helps welders reduce injuries, increase productivity and improve the quality of their work life.

“One thing we especially like is that Fibre-Metal provides a welding helmet for every process and application. Each model is designed for a specific application. All of them have a full complement of features for performance and comfort.

“As is our general approach at IBT Safety, we also provide services and support for a comprehensive welding helmet safety program. This includes free consultation, hazard analysis, OSHA compliance reviews and wearer training assistance. We help you receive the maximum benefit from your welding helmet safety program.

“We’re not the only ones that think these are truly superior products. Fibre-Metal welding helmets are SEI certified. They earned their stripes by meeting the stringent requirements of the Safety Equipment Institute, which is a private, nonprofit organization. SEI certifies personal protective equipment through independent laboratory testing and manufacturer quality performance.”

Information about Fibre-Metal welding PPE is available from you IBT Safety Representative – or just ask us by email.



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