The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-11-12T22:45:00Z Welders Run A 43% Increased Risk of Lung Cancer. 2019-11-12T22:45:00Z welders-run-a-43-increased-risk-of-lung-cancer The employer has the primary responsibility to ensure that welders, as far as reasonably practicable, are not exposed to health and safety risks whilst performing their job. The employer can achieve this by introducing engineering or administrative controls such as extract ventilation and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as welding powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR). 2019 meta-analysis on exposure to welding fume Based on the 2017 IARC reclassification of welding fume and the more recent 2019 meta-analysis on exposure to welding fume and the risk of lung cancer, all employers of welders should consider reviewing their risk assessments for welding activities and revise where necessary their control measures to protect those undertaking welding activities. If you want to learn more about the 2019 meta-analysis on exposure to welding fume and the risk of lung cancer, Australian Welding Supplies have just released their 2020 Welding Fume Update.  The paper takes a closer look at the 2019 statistical study on welding fume which concluded that welders run a 43% increased risk of lung cancer when compared with those who have never welded or been exposed to welding fume. The welding code of practice  The Welding Code of Practice released by Safe Work Australia stipulates that employers ‘must ensure that air monitoring is carried out to determine the airborne concentration of a substance or mixture at the workplace to which an exposure standard applies if: - you are not certain on reasonable grounds whether or not the airborne concentration of the substance or mixture at the workplace exceeds the relevant exposure standard or - monitoring is necessary to determine whether there is a risk to health (1)’. Australian & New Zealand Work, Health and Safety Laws Under both the Australian Work, Health and Safety Laws and the New Zealand Health and Safety at Work Regulations, a person who directs the carrying out of work (eg. employer) at a workplace must provide PPE to workers carrying out work unless the personal protective equipment has been provided by another person conducting a business or undertaking, like a labour-hire company. As an employer, once you have selected the appropriate PPE ‘you must provide the worker with information, training, and instruction in the proper use and wearing of that PPE’ (1). Proper guidance should be given on the storage of equipment and care and maintenance guidelines should be clear and adhered to. Where to from here? For help on selecting suitable respiratory protection for your specific welding application, or training and instruction on the proper use, fitting, or care and maintenance of your welding PPE, please contact AWS or use the links below. Download the 2020 Welding Fume Paper Here References 1) Welding processes code of practice, Safe Work Australia, May 2018 I Own a 3M Speedglas 9100 FX Air. How do I upgrade to the NEW Speedglas G5-01 Welding Helmet? 2019-11-11T00:01:21Z i-own-a-3m-speedglas-9100-fx-air-how-do-i-upgrade-to-the-new-speedglas-g5-01-welding-helmet By now you’ve likely heard about the new 3M Speedglas Heavy Duty Respiratory Welding Helmet G5-01. If you are one of the tens of thousands of Australian or Kiwi welders who own a 3M Speedglas 9100 FX Air and would like to upgrade to the new 3M Speedglas G5-01 Welding Helmet, you have TWO options:   1.      Keep your Adflo PAPR and Upgrade Your Head-Top Only The most economical way to upgrade to the new 3M Speedglas G5-01 Welding Helmet is by hanging onto your existing Adflo PAPR and simply upgrading your head-top. The 3M Speedglas G5-01 Upgrade Kit comes with the new 3M Speedglas G5-01 Flip-Up Welding Helmet and the new Speedglas G5-01 Welding Lens with True-View and Variable Colour. Simply attach the helmet to your existing Adflo PAPR and you can benefit from all the features of the New 3M Speedglas G5-01 Welding Helmet including climate control, larger welding lens with a shade 14, larger grinding visor, narrow more streamlined design, TrueView and Variable Colour, Bluetooth Connectivity and a number of configurable extra protection and lighting options. 2.   Upgrade Your Complete System The second option is obviously to upgrade your complete kit. The new 3M Speedglas G5-01 comes with a heavy-duty Adflo PAPR which gives you approximately 12 hours of battery life. If you’d like to take advantage of the configurable task light then we recommend this heavy duty battery option, as the task light draws its power from the Adflo battery. The complete kit also comes with the new 3M Speedglas Heavy-Duty Carry Bag to protect the welding helmet and respiratory system in between uses.   To Upgrade Your Speedglas FX Air Click Here Welding Safety in Western Australia 2019-01-08T22:38:01Z welding-safety-in-western-australia Having worked in the welding safety industry for over 23 years, I have seen more positive change in the last year than I have over the last twenty years and I feel like we’re just getting started in WA. Toward the end of 2018 we saw the WA housing market and general growth bottom-out and begin to rebound and it was announced that there would be a number of large-scale iron-ore and lithium mining projects planned to commence in the coming years. The Western Australian welding outlook looks bright in 2019 both from an economy and safety perspective. The main welding industries and applications in WA The mining of iron ore, gold, lithium, and nickel drives the welding industry in Australia’s westernmost state as well as a strong shipbuilding presence. So, the news of large-scale iron ore and lithium projects on the near horizon is great news for WA. Due to the heavy-duty nature of the welding that supports these industries the primary welding application in Western Australia is high amperage MIG welding between 200 and 400 amps. MIG welding at high amps is hot work and produces high levels of welding fume which is basically microscopic particles of hot metal and gases that are small enough and buoyant enough to be released from the welding arc and rise in a cloud of metal fume. If not properly protected, welding fume can pose significant short-term and long-term health risks to welders and workers in close proximity. As an example, it’s recommended that even in good environments with forced ventilation that a powered air respirator be worn when MIG welding with materials like aluminium, stainless steel, galvanised steel and non-coated steel. The big change in welding safety in Western Australia The big change in Western Australia came shortly after the 2017 reclassification of welding fume by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC). The IARC concluded that there was sufficient evidence in humans that welding fume can cause lung cancer and limited evidence for kidney cancer. As a result, the IARC reclassified welding fume as carcinogenic to humans. Following this news, 2018 witnessed many large, medium and small Western Australian companies completely change their stance on welding fume and the protection of their employees. The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmets with the Adflo PAPR which offer powered air respiratory protection against welding fume have become the “norm” for welders and companies in Western Australia. For me personally, it’s great to see the faces on the welders when they experience the refreshingly cool and clean air delivered by the Adflo PAPR for the first time. Not only do the systems keep the welders protected from welding fume, they also keep welders cool in the WA heat. Speedglas Welding Helmets Speedglas welding helmets with Adflo PAPR also protect the welders’ eyes and face from ultra-violet and infra-red radiation, bright visible light, high-speed particles, and certain helmets are also available with integrated over-head safety helmet protection and hearing protection. A recent study performed by a large company in the US found that foreign body eye injuries decreased by over 70% year-on-year after introducing the 3M Adflo Powered Air Purifying Respiratory Protection (PAPR) Systems. This is an often-overlooked positive side-effect of using these welding PAPR systems. Speedglas welding helmets are available with clear grinding visors which means the welder can keep the welding helmets in the safe down-position for the entirety of their workday providing continuous high impact eye and face protection. What does WA need for welding to remain strong into the future? For the welding industry to remain strong in WA I think we need to make sure that welders, companies and educational bodies training our next generation of welders coming through, understand that while the risk posed by welding fume and welding, in general, is real, protecting themselves from this risk is both easy and readily available. Teaching welders about respiratory and welding safety will ensure welders don’t leave the industry due to the potential health hazards. We’ve experienced that the general level of welding safety knowledge can be low and often misguided. This would be a major step in ensuring welders are fully informed to facilitate positive change. If you’d like more information on welding safety please contact AWS. Does drinking milk protect you from welding fume? 2018-12-13T01:16:46Z does-drinking-milk-protect-you-from-welding-fume There will be two types of welders reading this article. The first will think this is a joke. That no one could seriously believe that milk would be a suitable shield against a now known carcinogen. The other has heard from their peers that drinking milk does protect them from welding fume and wants to know whether there is any truth to this tale. Below, we look into facts and give you the answers once and for all.   Drinking milk to protect you from welding fume The first concept is that after drinking milk, the body will absorb the calcium from the milk and this will “fill up” the spaces that other heavy metals like zinc and cadmium would otherwise fill. By filling these gaps, the welder lowers the potential intake of these heavy metals. While the body will absorb calcium, this process relies on the digestion system pathway NOT the respiratory system. Therefore, the heavy metals that make their way into the respiratory pathway by breathing in welding fume are in no way affected by the intake of milk through the digestion system. Furthermore, a healthy diet means there should be no calcium deficiency, so the extra calcium in the milk will not be absorbed (or very little).   Holding milk in the mouth while welding acts as a filter The other theory is that welders would hold the milk in their mouth while welding. After welding they would spit the now dirty milk out! Trying to use it as a scrubber solution.   The whole notion is wrong. Holding the milk in your mouth forces the welder to breathe through their nose. Again, this process relies on the respiratory system with the welding fume being transported to the welder’s lungs. Clearly a respirator worn and used correctly will be more effective at preventing the welding fumes from getting into the welders’ airways to start with, rather than attempting to do something after the fumes have already entered the body.      So how should welders protect themselves from welding fume? The 3M Speedglas 9100 Welding Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) give welders a required minimum protection factor of 50. This means that the air the welder breathes when using a PAPR welding helmet will be 50 times cleaner than an unprotected welder. This is 5 times the level of protection offered by a properly fitted and tested disposable or reusable respirator. To learn more about how to protect yourself from welding fume please visit our resources below or download our free Welding Fume White Paper which takes a closer look at the recent reclassification of welding fume as a Group 1 Carcinogen.  Visit our range of Welding Helmets with Powered Air   Welders’ eye injuries decreased by over 70% year-on-year 2018-11-20T04:14:52Z welders-eye-injuries-decreased-by-over-70-year-on-year Recently all the talk regarding Welding Helmets with Powered Air has been focused around the reclassification of welding fume as carcinogenic. However, a recent study out of the US has found that “foreign body eye injuries decreased over 70% year-on-year in areas that implemented the 3M™ Adflo™ Powered Air Purifying Respiratory Protection (PAPR) Systems”. This is an often-overlooked positive side-effect of using these welding PAPR systems. Below, we take a look at this report in more detail. Eye Injury Reduction Report With over 1,500 employees and 600 certified welders, FreightCar America Inc. is one of the largest North American manufacturers of railroad freight cars. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, FreightCar America has been manufacturing quality railcars since 1901. FreightCar America is also a leading manufacturer of railcar parts for the railcar industry. Eye Injury Statistics FreightCar America historically utilised various auto-darkening welding helmets, protective eyewear and hearing protection to meet the local requirements for head & face protection. When Environmental Health & Safety Director, Russ Lazzell, came on board in 2012, he discovered what he thought was a higher than normal number of eye injuries. Further investigation found that many of the eye injuries were caused by foreign bodies, and not the result of direct impacts during the working process. Russ and senior leadership became determined to create a world-class health and safety culture at FreightCar. He chartered a comprehensive, company-wide eye injury reduction program. This was critical in regard to the safety and health of workers as well as driving operational efficiency. High eye injury rates often result in higher worker compensation claims and lost time costs from worker treatment and recovery off the job. Russ also implemented the 2012 American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) recommendation for respiratory exposures to manganese to combat contact with the harmful particulates produced in welding fumes. Based on these safety and health improvements, Russ knew he needed to look at his workers’ personal protective equipment (PPE) in a new way. He began searching for an alternative PPE solution to help meet these new requirements. FreightCar tried the 3M™ Speedglas™ 9100 MP Welding Helmet, a system that’s primary design is respiratory protection, but other benefits include eye and face protection, as well as enhanced worker comfort and productivity. The welding helmet has an integrated grinding shield. If the welding filter is flipped up for grinding and set-up procedures, the same level of foreign body eye and face protection is maintained. The helmet also connects to a breathing tube to deliver clean filtered-air from the PAPR System. To assure the workers would be receptive to the new systems, Russ worked with 3M to have multiple workers trial the product for several weeks in their working environment. Although multiple other industry offerings were included in the trial, the workers preferred the 3M Adflo PAPR system due to overall comfort. FreightCar America implemented over 700 3M systems across all facilities in heavy manufacturing areas. The Speedglas PAPR Systems were able to meet FreightCar’s increased respiratory protection requirements while providing a higher level of protection than a half face mask. The workers also reported a noticeably improved working environment especially by eliminating the need to be clean shaven or fit tested. Lastly, the Powered Air Purifying Respirators provided airflow across the workers’ face which was not only refreshing but significantly reduced fogging of safety glasses, a known contributor to foreign body eye injuries. Outcome Nine months after implementing the 3M Speedglas PAPR’s, Russ and the company achieved what they set out to do: FreightCar America met ACGIH’s TLV recommendation and foreign body eye injuries were reduced by over 70% year-on-year in areas that implemented the PAPR systems. Russ attributes the 3M system as a significant factor in lowered worker compensation claims as well as markedly improved employee morale. View the range of Speedglas Powered Air Welding Helmets  NOTE: This story captures the experience of one manufacturer at its facility (ies). Other companies at other facilities may have different experiences – results may vary. Facial Hair and Welding Respiratory Protection 2018-11-09T01:20:42Z facial-hair-and-welding-respiratory-protection Well, it’s November and that means two things in Australia. Number one, pubs are full of blokes sporting their best moustache in support of Movember. Number two, it’s starting to heat up, especially when you spend most of your day under a welding helmet. With all the extra facial hair flying around this month, it’s a good time to take a look at what impact facial hair has on welders' respiratory protection and overall comfort.   Facial Hair and Welding Whether you adorn a goatee, mutton chops, chin curtain, horseshoe, handlebar or simply like to keep it a little rough around the edges to save on razor blades, it may surprise you to hear that if you are required to wear a disposable or reusable respirator at work, you may not be getting the respiratory protection you think you are. Negative pressure tight-fitting respirators such as disposable or reusable respirators require the welder to be clean-shaven where the respirator’s sealing surfaces touch their face. Yes, even the designer stubble and 5 o’clock shadow needs to take a hike if you wear a negative pressure respirator. The fact that welding fume was recently classified as a carcinogen throws a little extra importance on this matter. However, there is a way to keep the whiskers, increase your respiratory protection by 5 times, keep you cooler, increase your productivity and potentially save you or your business money, long-term.   Powered Air Respiratory Protection. With powered air respiratory protection, the welder is free to let the facial hair flow thanks to the positive pressure keeping the pollutants at bay. Here are some other reasons why Powered Air Respiratory Protection makes sense for welders: 1)      Simple to implement with no “Fit Testing” required With disposable and reusable respiratory protection, you are required to fit test at your cost. 2)      More Comfortable Cool and clean air is delivered to the welding helmet keeping the welder more comfortable in hot and humid conditions. Breathing is made easier as the user no longer needs to pull the air through a sweaty filter. Instead of a hot and wet filter on your face, you are free to breathe in your own comfortable environment.  3)      Higher Levels of Respiratory Protection Powered air respirators deliver air to the welder which is a minimum of 50 times cleaner than they would otherwise be breathing. This is 5 times the protection offered by disposable or reusable respirators.   4)      Safety on Multiple Levels The 3M Speedglas Welding Helmets with PAPR can protect your eyes, face, ears, head and lungs. A recent study out of the US reported that “Foreign body eye injuries decreased over 70% year-on-year in areas that implemented the 3M™ Adflo™ Powered Air Purifying Respiratory Protection (PAPR) Systems”1. This was a company that employed over 1,500 employees with 600 certified welders. This is a welcome side-effect of these systems due to their integrated grinding shield. If the welding filter is flipped up for grinding and set-up procedures, the same level of foreign body eye and face protection is maintained. 5)      Productivity Improvements Not only can you weld faster when you can see more clearly, but your entire movement around your workpiece can become more efficient. Because you keep cool and comfortable you become less fatigued which can substantially increase your overall productivity. 6)      Long-Term Savings The up-front cost of a powered air respirator is obviously more expensive than a disposable respirator. However, long-term, the opposite is often true. A PAPR is worn on the welder’s back, drawing air into the system from behind the welder away from the greatest concentration of welding fume. For this reason, the filters on a PAPR will need to be changed less frequently than disposable respirator masks or reusable respiratory filters which are worn on the welder’s face, in closer proximity to the welding plume.  7)      Job Satisfaction When welders are kept safe, are more comfortable and perform better, their job satisfaction is increased.   So, keep the facial hair, keep cool and upgrade your welding protection today! View the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmets with Powered Air  Welders' Powered Air Respiratory Protection Now More Affordable 2018-10-11T04:07:36Z welders-powered-air-respiratory-protection-now-more-affordable After hearing the news regarding the reclassification of welding fume by the IARC and releasing a Welding Fume White Paper on what this means for Australian welders, AWS, the sole agent for the 3M Speedglas Brand in Australia and New Zealand has decided to reposition the 3M Speedglas 9100XXi Air Powered Air Purifying Respirator with a sharper price point to help make powered air respiratory protection more affordable for Aussie and Kiwi welders. The Speedglas 9100 Air  The Speedglas 9100 Air coupled with the award-winning Adflo PAPR combines the largest viewing area on the market with Speedglas TrueView which allows the welder to view their weld with better clarity and more colour. When combined with the peripheral Side Windows the 9100 Air gives welders vision like no other welding helmet currently on the market. With an External Button that allows the welder to bounce between two saved welding settings and grind mode, the welder never needs to touch the welding lens interface again. Simply switch between welding and grinding tasks with a touch of an external button while maintaining your positive pressure seal and desired level of welding respiratory protection. When selecting a non-flip-up welding helmet with a PAPR consider the following: - Welding Lens Viewing Area: Speedglas 9100 Air, with peripheral SideWindows, has the largest viewing area currently available on the market. - Arc Detection: The 9100 Air has the most powerful arc detection available down to 1amp - Light State and True View Optics: With a light state of 3 and Speedglas TrueView, set-up and inspect with colour and clarity and weld in High Definition. - Controls: With external grind and memory modes, the 9100 Air makes switching applications easy. - Side Windows: If you have never experienced Speedglas Side Window peripheral vision it’s time to leave the tunnel. - Head Harness: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Experience the Speedglas Head Harness that changed the game in welding helmets.  - Charge Time: Rapid charge your PAPR battery in an hour! - The Weight of the PAPR: The lightweight Adflo didn’t win all the awards for nothing. - Warranty & Support: The Speedglas 9100XXi welding lens is backed by the Speedglas revolving 3 + 1-year warranty and supported by AWS in the field – a company dedicated to supporting the 3M Speedglas brand. - Price: With the new 9100 Air price point and market leading features – there is no contest! View The 3M Speedglas 9100 Air Welding Helmet with Adflo PAPR The “Reclassification of Welding Fume as Carcinogenic”, from an Australian Perspective 2018-10-09T23:50:45Z the-reclassification-of-welding-fume-as-carcinogenic-from-an-australian-perspective In early 2017 welding fume was reclassified as “Carcinogenic to Humans” by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC), meaning that there is a direct relationship between inhaling welding fume and contracting cancer. The “Australian Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants” by Safe Work Australia was last published on the 18 April 2013, almost four years before the recent reclassification of welding fume as carcinogenic. Therefore this reclassification of welding fume as a confirmed human carcinogen should highlight for Australian welders, employers and Australian regulators the potential hazards involved and drive them to promote better controls and protection. This, of course, begins with a better understanding of the reclassification of welding fume and what it really means for Australian welders and employers of welders. Based on the typical respiratory rate of 20 litres of air per minute or 2,300 m3 of air per year, a welder operating within the workplace exposure standards for general welding fume (5 mg/m3) in Australia, wearing no respiratory protection can inhale up to 11 grams of welding fume per year. So year on year, an unprotected Aussie welder operating within the workplace exposure limits in Australia can inhale 11 grams of a now known, identified and classified carcinogen. There is a significant disparity between workplace exposure limits for welding fume around the world and in this respect, Australia, is far behind other countries like Germany and the Netherlands. Australian welders operating within the occupational exposure limits for welding fume are exposed to four times the level of a known carcinogen than welders in Germany operating under their own local occupational exposure limits. “The incidence of cancer is usually dose-related”1 meaning that “the greater the exposure to the carcinogen, the higher the risk of developing the cancer associated with that substance or mixture” 1. Therefore, Australian welders run a higher risk of developing cancer operating within Australian workplace exposure limits than welders in Germany operating within their own local Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL’s).  We asked Christian Ripken, an Application Engineer within the Personal Safety Industry in Germany what he thought of the differences between the OEL’s for welding fume in Australia and Germany: “Materials, techniques, applications and potential hazards are very similar all over the globe, so it makes absolute sense to globally harmonise rules and regulations. From a safety and risk assessment perspective, it does not make a big difference if a welder is working in Australia, the US or in Europe. Welders and workers alike should have the best possible protection (based on current knowledge), wherever they are working in the world”.       The current exposure standards for Australia “do not identify a dividing line between a healthy or unhealthy working environment and are only provided for information purposes to help minimise exposure. Therefore, exposure standards should not be considered as representing an acceptable level of exposure to workers. They establish a statutory maximum upper limit” 1. Therefore, the employer has the primary responsibility to ensure that welders, as far as reasonably practicable, are not exposed to health and safety risks whilst performing their job. If it is impossible to eliminate the risk entirely the employer must minimise the risk as far as reasonably practicable by introducing engineering or administrative controls such as ventilation and the use of personal protective equipment such as welding powered air respirators or supplied air respirators.  Terry Gorman, a Senior Occupational Hygienist in Australia advises that “an alert safety professional will keep up to date with changes in different countries that are considered relevant (e.g. USA, UK, Germany) to see what changes are occurring. Lowering of an OEL in another jurisdiction can be the trigger to install an internal OEL used in a company to give the exposed workers the protection they deserve”.  A number of large Australian companies are now changing their stance on PPE for welders after the reclassification of welding fume by the IARC. Many large Australian companies are strengthening their controls by enforcing the use of welding powered air purifying respirators (PAPR’s) to reduce welding fume exposure to “As Low as Reasonably Practicable”.  In 2014, in an Australian first, a Victorian County Court ruled that a Melbourne man’s deadly lung cancer was linked to toxic welding fumes and that working as a welder had raised his risk of contracting lung cancer. This ruling has set the precedent for future compensation claims.   If you are a welder, employ welders or know a welder and would like more information on this subject then please download our White Paper which takes a closer look at the recent reclassification of welding fume from an Australian perspective. The paper pulls together relevant information from multiple sources into one easy to read document, so that employers of welders and welders themselves can make better decisions regarding welding fume and suitable respiratory protective measures. The paper also attempts to raise awareness of workplace cancer risks associated with welding so that welders question and challenge whether they are suitably protected even when operating under the current Australian workplace exposure standards for welding fume. If you are a welder, friends or family of a welder or responsible for welders within a business then this is a must-read.  Download our White Paper on Welding Fume which takes a closer look at the reclassification of welding fume from an Australian perspective.   1)        1: Guidance on the interpretation of workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants, Safe Work Australia, April 2013 How to Pick a Welding Helmet 2018-09-03T02:38:18Z how-to-pick-a-welding-helmet A New Tool That Makes It Easy There are so many different auto-darkening welding helmet brands and product options available these days and as a result, selecting a welding mask that’s perfect for you and your specific welding requirements has never been more challenging. If only there was a tool that made this task easy and matched your needs to welding helmets as opposed to making you do all the hard work. Hold on… There is. Our new innovative Welding Helmet Selector Tool has completely reversed the process and instead matches your requirements to our range of welding helmets and only displays the masks that match your needs. By answering 10 simple questions about your welding environment, you will be presented with the auto-darkening helmets that fit perfectly with what you are after. But Then What? Once you have the welding helmet options that suit your needs, simply click on the “Add to Compare” button to see how the welding masks presented differ from one another. Important features to consider include auto-darkening viewing area, welding lens clarity, switching sensitivity and low amperage settings for TIG welding, as well as compatibility with powered air or supplied air respiratory protection. Once you know which mask would be best for you, click on the welding helmet reviews to hear from other welders currently using this product. You can then choose to get a quote, ask a question, buy online or find your closest distributor. The whole reversed-process only takes a few minutes and you’ll have all the information you need to upgrade your welding protection today. Or Maybe You Want To Pick Based On Welding Helmet Features? If you are more-of-a “feature” person, then simply navigate to our Welding Helmet Feature Page, where you can filter our complete range of shields based on the auto-darkening lens and mask features important to you. It’s never been easier to pick a welding mask and it all starts with answering one simple question: Do you want to choose your mask based on Welding Helmet Features or Your Own Personal Welding Needs? You can use the Welding Helmet Selector Tool or use the link below to Filter Welding Helmets Based on Features:  AWS and the 3M Speedglas Welding Safety Brand Speedglas released the first auto-darkening welding shield ever in 1981 and has continued to set the benchmark for Safety, Versatility, Performance and Comfort with exclusive features and superior manufacturing techniques ever since. AWS is the sole agent for the 3M Speedglas Welding Safety brand in Australia and New Zealand. How Do 3M Auto-Darkening Filters for Welding Helmets Work? 2018-09-03T02:27:14Z how-do-3m-auto-darkening-filters-for-welding-helmets-work Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Auto-darkening welding helmets were designed to make welding protection easier and safer. If you can always see clearly, the need to constantly lift your welding mask is reduced. This, in turn, means a reduced likelihood of injury from foreign bodies such as welding sparks and metal, and reduced potential exposure to harmful UV/IR radiation by accidentally striking an arc or being exposed to the arcs of others welding nearby. But how do they work?  What Components Make Up An Auto Darkening Welding Lens? There are a number of different elements which combine to create 3M auto-darkening filters for welding helmets. Let’s take a look at each of the elements and then how they work in combination to protect your eyes from harmful UltraViolet/InfraRed (UV/IR) radiation. 1) UV/IR Interference Filter: The UV/IR filter effectively eliminates significant levels of UV/IR radiation, even when the Auto-Darkening Lens is not activated. The UV/IR filter comprises numerous metallic layers (5 silver layers, 6 aluminium oxide layers) and a thin glass substrate. With the help of the metallic layers, the filter has the ability to reflect and absorb 99.9% of the IR radiation within the ADL shade range. This helps to not only protect the wearer’s eye from harmful radiation, but also to protect the liquid crystal panels from any heat damage due to the high temperatures present during welding. The UV protection offered by the ADL is a result of the metallic layers working in combination with the polarisation filters – allowing the lens to absorb 99.9997% of harmful UV radiation within its shade range. The glass absorbs the harmful UVB radiation (the type that causes sunburn), while the polarising filters and UV/IR filter remove UVA radiation which can penetrate glass, but is harder to detect. It is these metallic layers, when combined, which gives auto-darkening welding lenses a metallic reflective purple colour – as seen on Speedglas welding helmets. 2) Polarisation Filters: Polarisation filters darken the visible light when used in combination with the UV/IR filter and LCC’s. As seen in the image above, the polariser nearest the UV/IR filter is perpendicular to the other two polarisers. When two polarisers are positioned at an angle of 90 degrees they will be at their darkest. By contrast, when the polarisers are arranged in the same orientation the light will only darken slightly. Basically, the degree to which the light is darkened depends on which way they are being moved. 3) LC Cell Liquid Crystal Cells (LCC): Liquid Crystal Cells have the ability to turn the light. When lying flat, liquid crystal cells twist the light by 90 degrees. However, when stimulated by electricity, it is possible to manipulate how far the LCC’s bend the light. So How do Auto Darkening Lenses Work? Now that you understand the components, here’s how they all work together to give you a functioning ADL! Using the image above, you will notice that the 2 polarising filters closest to the welder’s eye (the right-hand side of diagram) are aligned in the same direction. When the welding lens is switched off, the liquid crystals between the polarising filters bend the polarised light 90 degrees, meaning the lens will appear dark (around shade 5-6). This is a built-in safety feature that protects the eyes from very bright light in the event of the auto-darkening lens failing. Conversely, when switched on, the liquid crystal cell between the first two polarisers un-twist the polarised light waves, causing the lens to drop down to a light shade of 3 before striking an arc. If this does not happen, do not continue welding as there is a problem with your ADL! Within 0.1 milliseconds of the arc being struck, the photosensors on the front of the lens activate the front liquid crystal panel which darkens the lens to your pre-selected dark state. The lens will then automatically return to the clear state after the weld is complete, allowing for immediate and safe inspection of the weld pool and preparation for the next weld. Find an auto-darkening helmet to suit your needs Visit: to find the helmet that's right for you! What Is Being Done in Australia Now That We Know Welding Fume Is Carcinogenic? 2018-08-01T03:00:52Z what-is-being-done-in-australia-now-that-we-know-welding-fume-is-carcinogenic The Welding Fume White Paper by AWS on the IARC Reclassification of Welding Fume was intended to answer welders’ questions on what the reclassification meant for Australian welders and employers of Australian welders. We’ve had a huge response to this Welding Fume White Paper with thousands of downloads and many companies completely changing their stance on welding fume as a result. However, we’ve also had a lot of questions. Here we will attempt to answer those questions: What’s being done in Australia now that we know welding fume is carcinogenic? Safe Work Australia leads the development of national policy to improve Workers’ Health and Safety (WHS) and workers' compensation arrangements across Australia. Safe Work Australia is aware of the recently published material by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC) which classifies welding fumes as a carcinogen. Safe Work Australia is investigating the classification of welding fumes according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals to provide further clarity on the duties relating to welding fumes under the model WHS laws. Welding fume (not otherwise classified) has an Exposure Standard based on an 8-hour working day time-weighted average (TWA) of 5 milligrams per cubic metre. These standards are currently under review along with the other metals that might be part of the welding fume. The review of the Model Code of Practice: Welding Processes, has been reviewed and approved and will be published on the Safe Work Australia website shortly^. What should be done in the meantime? Under the model WHS laws, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a duty to identify hazards (for example, carcinogenic welding fumes) and manage risks relating to work. Duty holders must eliminate these risks where reasonably practicable, and where it is not reasonably practicable, they must manage those risks as far as is reasonably practicable using the hierarchy of control. In the case where elimination and the substitution of less hazardous materials is technically not possible, the use of the carcinogenic substances, such as welding fume, should be controlled to the highest practicable standard by the application of effective engineering controls such as ventilation systems and, where necessary, complemented by the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as welding helmets with powered air respirators. Duty holders should also review and adjust or modify the control measures that are in place to protect workers, as far as is reasonably practicable^. So What PPE Respirator Options Are Available to Welders? The following is an overview of four different types of welding respirators. In addition to your specific respiratory requirements, your selection process may also include factors such as equipment style/configuration, personal preference/comfort and maintenance considerations: Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) • Required Minimum Protection Factor RMPF* of 50. • High-efficiency particle filtration with some PAPR varieties also providing filtration of both particulates and gases, depending on filter selection. • Many PAPR’s allow the welder to adjust the airflow rate providing a refreshing and cooling sensation for hot, humid jobs. • Offers the welder complete mobility (not fixed to a hose etc). • Much lower set-up costs as compared to Supplied Air and may deliver lower operating costs over time when compared to disposable and reusable respirators. Supplied Air Regulators with Compressed Air  • RMPF* of 100+ gives the highest protection factor compared to the other forms of respiratory protection listed in this document. • Clean air is supplied from an external source. • Belt-mounted regulators can control airflow, normally with flow rates higher than that of a PAPR. • Set-up costs can be prohibitive with the need for compressed air, an air filtration unit and appropriate air supply lines on top of the regulator and respiratory welding helmet. • Restricted mobility compared to other forms of respiratory protection: connected to a filtration system and compressed air source. Reusable Half Face Respirators  • RMPF* of 10 • Provide protection against solid and liquid particles. • Specific products for organic vapour/inorganic vapours and acid gas/ammonia. • Suitable for use under a welding helmet dependent on fit. • If the respirator is not fitted correctly, protection may be compromised or reduced. • Filters can become loaded extremely quickly in certain welding environments. • Not suitable for use with facial hair. Disposable Respirators  • RMPF* of 10. • For moderate levels of fine dust particles, oil- and water-based mists, metal fume and ozone. • Lightweight and no maintenance required – disposable. • Fits under virtually any welding helmet. • If the respirator is not fitted correctly, protection may be compromised or reduced. • Filters can become loaded extremely quickly in certain welding environments. • Not suitable for use with facial hair. How to Determine whether an Exposure Standard is Being Exceeded The reclassification of welding fume as “carcinogenic to humans” by the IARC has sparked many companies to rethink their internal exposure limits. To determine whether an exposure standard is being exceeded, air monitoring will be necessary. The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists can be contacted to help find a qualified occupational hygienist who may be able to help. First You’ve Heard of all this and Want More Information? If you are a welder, employ welders or know a welder and would like more information on this subject then please download our White Paper which takes a closer look at the recent reclassification from an Australian perspective. On this landing page, you will also find detailed information on the dangers of welding fume and a strategic approach that can help to reduce exposure.  You will find the direct link here: ^Thank you and credit to SafeWork for helping to answer many of our questions. RMPF* = Required Minimum Protection Factor. The required minimum protection factor based on laboratory-measured performance data according to Australian and New Zealand Standards. Eg. RMPF of 50 means that if correctly fitted the air you breathe will be 50 times cleaner than the air you would be breathing unprotected. Where to Start or When in Doubt?  4 Welding Helmet Hacks For Better Vision 2018-08-01T02:55:12Z 4-welding-helmet-hacks-for-better-vision There are approximately 73,000 welders in Australia, many of whom are over the age of 50. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that a major complaint for many Australian welders is that their eyesight isn’t as crisp as it once was. Don’t worry, these days there are many options to assist welders to view their arc with more clarity through their welding helmet. Keep It Simple Starting with the easiest solution first, make sure you make a regular habit of replacing outside and inside protection plates on your welding helmet. Following a welding helmet care and maintenance schedule and replacing your protection plates on a regular basis will ensure an unobstructed view of the welding arc through your welding lens. If All Else Fails.. Cheat If you still can’t see with the detail you need, most welding helmets now allow for the insertion of a magnifying lens. These relatively inexpensive “cheater lenses” allow welders to view their work with more detail without the need to move closer to the arc and weld plume. No More Green Haze Advancements in welding lens technology have also led to game-changing innovations like “Speedglas TrueView”. New Speedglas True-View technology gives welders a view with more realistic colour that appears lighter and brighter. By allowing a wider colour spectrum to be visible through the welding lens, welders can read surfaces, contours and edges better and benefit from greater control over their welds. Flip-Up to Perfect Views Lastly, if you need to weld and grind or you require a completely clear view for set-up or to inspect your welds then consider a flip-up welding helmet. Many welding helmets now include a flip-up welding lens which reveals a completely clear grinding visor underneath. The clear grinding visor allows the welder to view their work with a completely clear and uninhibited view and if used with a PAPR means the welder never breaks their respiratory protection seal by lifting the helmet. If you'd like more information please contact AWS -  If Your Welding Boots Have Laces, They Are Not Welding Boots… 2018-04-22T23:20:01Z if-your-welding-boots-have-laces-they-are-not-welding-boots Many large project sites and smaller workshops in Australia have made it mandatory that all workers wear lace-up, zip sided boots to prevent rolled ankles and allow for quick removal. This may make sense for the majority of workers but not for welders.   The “Welding Processes Code of Practice” released by Safe Work Australia states that foot protection worn by welders should be “non-slip, heat and fire resistant” and that “welders should avoid using foot protection that has the potential to capture hot sparks and metal debris”, using ‘laces’ as an example of what NOT to wear.   Laces introduce a new hazard to the welder as molten metal, sparks and hot debris are collected in a focused capture point. The burn risk to the welder is significantly increased especially if the boots worn are not heat or fire resistant.    Simply put, if your welding boots have laces, they are not welding boots and they put you at risk. Burns are one of the most common injuries associated with welding. Care should always be taken to identify and eliminate risk. “200,000 Australians suffer burns annually with a cost to the Australian community of over $150 million dollars per annum”1. The majority of these injuries could easily be avoided with the correct PPE and/or safety precautions in place. The employer has the primary duty to ensure that welders are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from welding duties. If PPE, like welding boots, “are to be used at the workplace, the person conducting the business or undertaking must ensure the equipment is selected to minimise risk to health and safety by ensuring that the equipment is suitable for the nature of the work and any hazard associated with the work”2. “When PPE is worn by workers, it should not introduce other hazards to the worker”2. Boots that are provided to welders should be suitable for welding and in alignment with The Welding Processes Code of Practice released by Safe Work Australia. Welders are exposed to unique risks that other workers may not encounter. These include heat, spatter, sparks and potentially flames. Welders wear unique PPE like auto darkening welding helmets, welding gloves and welding aprons so why are they not wearing appropriate welding boots? Learn more about this topic. Download The Welding Boot White Paper from AWS.  References:  1 2 Welding Processes Code Of Practice, Safe Work Australia, April 2016