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Blue-Light Hazard From Gas Metal Arc Welding of Aluminum Alloys

21 Jul 2017

AbstractObjectivesThe objective was to quantify the blue-light hazard from gas metal arc welding (GMAW) of aluminum alloys. The exposure level is expected to depend on the welding conditions. Therefore, it is important to identify the blue-light hazard under various welding conditions.MethodsWe experimentally conducted GMAW of aluminum alloys under various welding conditions and measured the spectral radiance of the arcs. The effective blue-light radiance, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has defined to quantify the exposure level of blue light, was calculated from the measured spectral radiance. The maximum acceptable exposure duration per 10000 s for this effective blue-light radiance was calculated.ResultsThe effective blue-light radiance measured in this study was in the range of 2.9–20.0 W cm−2·sr. The corresponding maximum acceptable exposure duration per 10000 s was only 5.0–34 s, so it is hazardous to view the welding arc. The effective blue-light radiance was higher at higher welding currents than at lower welding currents, when pulsed welding currents were used rather than steady welding currents, and when magnesium was included in the welding materials.ConclusionsIt is very hazardous to view the arcs in GMAW of aluminum alloys. Welders and their helpers should use appropriate eye protection in arc-welding operations. They should also avoid direct light exposure when starting an arc-welding operation.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene