Welding Mask and Safety
Welding masks are used when welding so as to protect your eyes, face and neck from the heat produced when welding, flash burns and ultraviolet and infra-red light and sparks which can damage your eyesight. A good welding mask will prevent you from cornea and retina (eyes) damage and heat burns.
When choosing a welding mask there are some things that you should consider to ensure that you are well protected, safe and comfortable. Welding masks are tested for quality and good ones will meet ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 standards which test the masks for the ability to filter ultraviolet and infra-red lights effectively, switching lens darkening speeds and the ability of the mask to withstand the impact from objects that are flying at high speed.
There are two types of welding masks that are used; passive lens welding mask and auto darkening welding mask. Passive lens masks are coated with UV and IR dark tint glass which has a fixed shade value. This means that the tint is constant and does not change therefore the welder needs to have the visor up to be able to position the torch or electrode in the correct position then snap it down so that the eyes are covered just before starting up the arc.
The advantages of using this mask are that it is cheap and lasts long. The disadvantages on the other hand are that it may lead to welding errors because of lifting the visor and snapping it into position. It also increases the chances of getting injuries to the eyes as the welder may snap the visor too late after the arc has began.
Auto Darkening welding masks
An auto darkening welding mask that has met the standards will filter ultraviolet and infra-red light 100 percent and the shade settings are able to switch fast in low and high temperatures so that your eyes are adequately protected from the heat and the intensity of the light produced. Another important factor to look out for when choosing a mask are the weight of the mask and the viewing size of the sensor which are more for your comfort rather than effectiveness.
The auto darkening welding mask has a light shade value when you are not welding. This makes it easy to see so that you are able to position the electrode or torch in the correct position before you begin welding. The lens will automatically darken when you begin welding, effectively protecting your eyes from heat and light. The advantages of using auto darkening masks are that you do not have to snap your neck repetitively to place the visor in the correct position as with the passive lens welding mask. This eases neck strains and fatigue. Your eyes are better protected with a auto darkening welding mask
and the chances of being injured are greatly reduced. You are also able to make fewer errors when welding as you are able to see properly throughout when you are carrying out the welding job and it is more convenient as once you wear your welding mask, you will not need to adjust or remove until you are done.