Welding, without the proper precautions, can be a dangerous and unhealthy
practice. However, with the use of new technology and proper protection, the
risks of injury and death associated with welding can be greatly reduced.
Because many common welding procedures involve an open electric arc or flame,
the risk of burns is significant. To prevent them, welders wear heavy leather
gloves and protective long sleeve jackets to avoid exposure to extreme heat and
flames. Additionally, the brightness of
weld area leads to a condition called "arc eye" in which ultraviolet light
causes the inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retinas of the eyes.
Helmets with dark face plates are worn to prevent this exposure, and in recent
years, new helmet models have been produced that feature a face plate that
self-darkens upon exposure to high amounts of UV light. Welders are also often
exposed to gases, such as nitrogen oxides, ozone and carbon monoxide, and fumes
that can prove dangerous if ventilation is inadequate. Furthermore, the use of
compressed gases and flames in many welding processes pose an explosion and fire
risk if proper precuations are not taken, including the prevention of excess
oxygen in the air and keeping combustible materials away from the workplace.