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Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe?

Wednesday, 18th March 2020
Graham (Tech Advisor)
The Welders Warehouse Online Shop

Are Automatic Welding helmets Safe?  Your Eyes are, arguably, your most vulnerable and most important sense, so it’s important to look after them.

What’s the Hazard?

Arc Welding processes (Tig Welding, Mig Welding, Stick Welding, Plasma Cutting etc) emit a range of light wave lengths that are hazardous to eyes, including Ultra Violet (UV), which is the most dangerous to eyes.

“Arc Eye” is a common and painful hazard for Welders.  Arc Eye is essentially the UV Burning of the back of the eye.  This is exactly the same as Sunburn to the skin.  A mild Arc Eye feels like sand in the eyes, severe Arc Eye is extremely painful and can lead to temporary, or even permanent blindness.  Arc Eye also increases the risk of cancer in the eye.


Traditional passive welding masks used a piece of shaded glass to reduce UV exposure.  The darkness of this glass is typically 9EV to 13EV (13 being the darker).  Maskss fitted with this glass are great for protecting the eyes from UV, but they’re so dark that the operator can see nothing until an arc is struck.

In the early 1990’s automatic welding masks came on to the market.  These helmets are a bit like super fast, super dark, React to Light Sun Glasses.

When you’re not welding, the filter is a light green, allowing good vision for job set up and torch positioning.  As soon as an arc is struck, the filter darkens to a welding shade.  The welding shade can normally be adjusted, lighter, or darker.

When welding is finished, the helmet goes back to the Light Mode.  This all happens VERY quickly!  For example, our Speedshield V goes Dark in less than 1/10,000 of a second and comes back to Light Mode in between 0.2 and 1.0 second (user adjustable).

A question we get asked regularly is:

“Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe, what happens if the mask does NOT darken when I strike an arc?”.

Well that’s where it gets a bit clever.  All The Welders Warehouse Auto Welding Masks have a special coating that filters out UV to the equivalent of at least shade 15 glass.  This coating is permanent, meaning you get shade 15+ protection from UV, even when the mask is in the Light Mode.

All this means that, provided you have the helmet down, there is ZERO risk of Arc Eye.  The lightening and darkening of the Lens also means you don’t have to lift the helmet between welds or tacks to see where the next weld/tack needs to go, very convenient and great for productivity!

Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe?

If you buy from a reputable supplier YES very safe!

Automatic Welding Masks are also easy to use, hugely convenient and productive.

You can see our full range of super safe, fully CE approved Auto Welding Masks on our website.

I hope you found this useful, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

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