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The Importance of Protective Devices in Welding

  • Subject: Life
  • Essay Topic: Welding
  • Page: 1
  • Words: 587
  • Published: 01 September 2020
  • Downloads: 73
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Welding can be defined as a process of joining metal pieces by means of molten metal that is produced at the joint either by heat and or pressure. Welders, especially in developing countries are an important occupational group owing to rapid urbanization and industrialization. Welding processes results in the generation of poisonous gases and fumes such as aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, monoxide, fluorine, nitrogen-oxide which could be dangerous to the eyes. According to the Canadian center for occupational health and safety (2011), certain type of ultraviolet radiation can produce an injury to the surface and mucus membrane of the eye called “arc eye” or Welder’s eye. Apart from UV rays, visible light and infrared radiations are also emitted during welding process. This visible light can overwhelm the ability of the iris to close sufficiently and rapidly enough to limit the brightness of the light reaching the retina, resulting in temporal blindness and eye fatigue. Repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation can increase the risk of pterygium, pingueculae, cataract, age related macular degeneration and also eyelid degeneration such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.

Ajaiyeoba and Scott, (2002) studied the risk factors associated with eye diseases and observed that welders were particularly at risk of eye injuries with potential for blindness because their occupation deals with exploitation of energetic means capable of yielding high temperature. The most prevalent eye disorders reported among the welders are arc eye injuries, pterygium, conjunctivitis, foreign body sensation, watery eyes, persistent after images. Various protective devices such as safety goggles, face shields and helmet are used by welders.

The importance of protective devices cannot be undermined in the promotion of good occupational health as well as reduction of the impact of occupational hazards among welders. Work related injuries are considered to be largely preventable, especially if adequate eye protection is used and appropriate machine guards are positioned over obvious hazards, also, these protective devices must be fitted with the right type of filter lens. The welding filters placed on the personal protective equipment come in various optical densities (shade numbers) depending on the type of welding being done. Despite the high levels of awareness of the work place hazards and existence of personal protective eye devices (PPE), majority of welders use their protective devices occasionally while few rarely use them. A study done by Kayode et al., (2013) revealed that 64.9% of welders had poor knowledge of the health effects of welding smoke. Ganesh et al (2013) surveyed the awareness, knowledge and use of eye safety devices of 209 welders and reported that 83.3% were more aware of hazards than safety measures. Inefficient devices such as sunglasses have been considered protective and used as a personal protective device by some welders.These above findings have prompted the need to assess the level of awareness and utilization of personal protective devices among welders in Alimosho local government area of Lagos state.

There was a high level of awareness but inadequate use of PPE for the prevention of eye injuries among the respondents. It is recommended that welders use the right PPE and use them all the time because of its effectiveness against work related hazards. The welders association should organize work-related safety training in a manner that will be of most benefit to them. The government should provide eye safety information to specifically target the poor attitude towards occupational eye safety, promote the availability of quality and affordable PPE and ensure that these have been relevantly tested and standardized for safe use locally.

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