Protect your vision! Co-worker receives welding flash injury

Safety Alert Type: 
Northern BC (near Prince George)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
McCabe Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck required some welding repairs so the welder went to the yard the truck was parked at. Before starting work, the welder notified the truck driver not to look at the welding. Once welding commenced, the welder's back was to the truck driver so he couldn't see the truck driver had not turned away while the welder carried out his work.

Later that night the truck driver awoke with his eyes hurting. A co-worker took him to the hospital where it was determined that the truck driver had suffered a welding flash. He was treated and sent home and missed the next day's work.

When the welder and supervisor talked to the truck driver, it was discovered that the driver thought if he wore his sunglasses and stared at the ground that was good enough to protect his eyes. It was also discovered he had never been around welding and was unaware of the danger.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • More detailed instruction from the welder to the truck driver prior to starting the welding job. The truck driver should not have looked directly OR indirectly at welding flashes and should have turned away.
  • When welding on trucks and machines on sites such as a logging block, camp yards and open shop yards, other workers should be cleared out of the immediate area to avoid the danger of flashes - until the welder deems it safe to return.
  • Active welding signs should be posted and all workers who might have contact with welding activity should have the dangers communicated to them in meetings and safety bulletins posted in the work areas.
  • Where safe and possible, the welder could use a tarp or screen or the equipment itself to shield the welding flashes and thereby prevent accidental exposure to others on a worksite.

The only protection is proper welding helmets and welding goggles. Even from a distance, it is unsafe to observe welding without the correct eye protection. Sunglasses and tinted safety glasses offer no protection against the bright welding arcs and glare.

Welding flash to the eye(s) quite often shows up hours after exposure and the person exposed to this danger may not realize the risk at the time.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tina McCabe 250-967-0106

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