Being a construction worker I have my whole family linked with construction work through generations. I have seen my grandfather going to work in the earliest morning with a smile on his face.
Since childhood, this smile and the energy of my grandfather and my father encouraged me to join in this line of work. But not so long ago, this drive of mine for working as a welder crashed devastatingly when my father lost his eyesight.
I have seen my folks using these cheap handheld welding shields since forever, and I regret now for not telling him to use welding helmets. My life has become so much easier when my wife gifted me an auto darkening helmet at Christmas, three years back… I suppose.
Let’s Discuss Usability
So, what is it like to have an auto darkening welding helmet? I don’t know from where to start. It has so many features, and the integration of technology has made our lives so much easier.
Basically, while using an auto darkening helmet, the shades of the visor can be manually tweaked for our likings, and also it detects surprise exposures caused by welding.
Different types of matter react differently with each other, it’s just pure science, no doubt about it. In this line of work, we are requested to weld different sort of things.
For example, last week I had to weld a cement silo, but for some lab work, the silo was used as a storage for a highly flammable matter, and I was not mentioned about this scenario.
As soon as I sparked my welding and started to weld, a ball of arc-light, brighter than the sun appeared just in the front eye. It happened just in milliseconds, I did not have adequate time to react to this, but my helmet did. It saved my eyes for the 100th times by now.
Not in actual numbers, but yes, uncountable times it managed to protect my eyes from ultraviolet and numerous rays caused by chemical reactions. I used to squint my eyes all the time, eye fatigue, watery eyes were a regular thing. Now, I’m relieved by using the latest technology which these auto-darkening helmets offer.
How It Performs?
The performance has been high all the way, since Day 1. Besides having the smell of the fresh scent of the new helmet, nothing seems to wear off through time.
I have seen many colleagues complaining about their visors getting scratched up or worn off due time. But in my case, I am pretty much happy with my one.
The visor uses a special coating which helps in keeping the glass of the screen, but strangely, it gets in contact with fire from now and then, but it never bothers a single bit.
Point to be noted; it needs a changing of the battery as soon as the battery indicator indicates to change the battery for the sensors to work accordingly. There is an array of shades for the visor.
You always have to turn it on to work and also choose the type of shade you want as you desire. Putting your helmet on is a must thing to do before starting to weld, accidents might occur if you forget to turn on the helmet.
A standard shade is present, but only in light welding, heavy welding needs a much darker shade by the way.
Eye Care and Protection
It has been seen that one out of four eye injuries in construction work is caused by welding work. When my father lost his eyesight for not using proper equipment, he lost all his dreams and the drive for working.
There are four types of injuries that can happen if not taken proper precautions in welding jobs, they are:
- Flying particles enters the eye on the process of welding.
- Photochemical burn or radiation burns due to the presence of Ultraviolet ray
- Infrared radiation and intense blue light can burn the Retina
- Irritation and chemical burn from fumes and chemical burns
Even when an accident occurs, few safety measures must be taken immediately, which are: not to touch the eyes before washing your hands.
The lower eyelid should be pulled down and resting your fingers on the cheek would help. Also, tilting the head back and applying ointment for fast recovery should help.
Luckily, medical science has evolved so much these days. Back in the days when my grandfather was welding for his earning, there were no advanced post-accident medicines. All there was water to wash those precious pairs of eyes.
How Safe Is It?
There is also a “but,” not only it helps in the all cases; it makes us more habituated to use technology. Habits can also be derived into bad habits. Likewise, people are getting easily lazy, and not wanting to work.
Just like that, when you have a top-notch auto darkening helmet, you cannot go back to a low-end helmet. Also, when you have an old-fashioned helmet but you decide to upgrade your helmet game and you get an auto darkening helmet.
First, a few days are beautiful, no problem at all. God forbids, the sensors in the helmet fail, and the shade of the visor could not recognize to act in the right moment. You are going to get blind right in that spot.
What if you forget to change the batteries, and you don’t have batteries available at that moment?
Well, your work is stopped for this unavoidable reason.
Days go by, new technology and innovation immerge in our lives. New technology enhances our experience and helps us ease things for betterment.
Think about the technologic advancement, comfort, real-time detection of radiation, tactile-ness; I would stick to using auto-darkening helmets all my life.
My safety is in my hands, being careful is the only key to being successful. I also want to encourage the innovators to make a helmet with 100% failsafe technology. After all, safety is first!