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Damage can be due to non-ionising radiation, foreign bodies, fumes and gases.
All welding arcs produce radiation. The energy ranges in the arcs are limited so only certain wavelengths are generated.
This radiation is divided into three categories:
- ultraviolet (UV)
- visible light
- infrared (IR)
Of these three, UV is the most likely to cause injury as its effects are not noticed by any of the senses at the time of exposure, so the effects only become apparent later.
Welders have a high incidence of eye injury caused by foreign bodies such as slag, spatter, sparks, dust and grit.
Particulate fumes and gases can irritate or damage the eye.
It is known that conjunctivitis may be caused by dust or fume associated with welding.