Original Research

Eye protection practices and symptoms among welders in the Limpopo Province of South Africa+

H. L. Sithole, O. A. Oduntan, M. O. Oriowo
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 68, No 3 | a163 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v68i3.163 | © 2009 H. L. Sithole, O. A. Oduntan, M. O. Oriowo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2009 | Published: 13 December 2009

About the author(s)

H. L. Sithole, University of South Africa, Academic and Research Portfolio, Research Directorate, South Africa
O. A. Oduntan, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Faculty of Health Sciences, Discipline of Optometry, South Africa
M. O. Oriowo, King Saud University, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Optometry, South Africa

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Abstract

Welding is associated with several ocular and systemic hazards especially where adequate protective measures are not taken.  The purpose of this project was to study the eye protection practices and symptoms among welders in the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Questionnaires designed to investigate eye protection practices and symptoms experienced were completed byone hundred and fifty (150) welders. The types of welding done were shielded metal arc (84%), oxyacetylene gas (4%) and silver brazing (12%). The number of years spent in the welding industry ranged from one to 10 years with a mean of 5 ± 3.1 years and the number of hours of welding per day ranged from one to 10 hours with a mean of 6 ± 2.1 hours. A large percentage of the welders (89%) reported wearing protective devices when welding and the most common protective devices used by the welders were: helmets (57%), goggles(22%), and face shields (15%). Six percent used inefficient protective devices such as sunglasses.  
Sixty one percent reported occasional exposure to welding flashes when not wearing any eye protection. Welding-related eye symptoms reported included foreign body sensation (18%), persistent after-images (31%), and watery eyes (50%).  Al-
though the majority of the welders wore protective devices while welding, a few did not always use such devices while others used sunglasses for protection.  Moreover, many of the welders were occasionally, and only a few were always, exposed to welding flashes when protective devices were not used. Therefore, we concluded that eye protectionpractices amongst the welders appeared to be inadequate to avoid hazards associated with welding.  It is recommended that an eye protection educational campaign for welders should form part of the SouthAfrican Government’s workplace safety program.

 


Keywords

Welders; welding; eye protection; eye symptoms; radiation; protective devices

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