The optical radiation data predominantly obtained for arc welding (but also for laser welding and plasma cutting) within the scope of this research project is set to significantly improve the data basis for the risk assessment of optical radiation emitted during welding over the years to come. A series of detailed analyses and the use of mathematical emission models also made it possible for the first time to introduce a straightforward and resilient tool for the risk assessment of optical radiation emissions during welding.
One of the main new findings from the F 2368 project is the detailed mathematical description of the optical radiation emissions of various welding processes over the complete wavelength range relevant for risk assessment. The impact of several different parameters (welding current, welded material, arc length, shielding gas, distance) was examined with regard to the arc’s optical radiation emission. This allows for a ranking of the welding techniques as regards the maximum permissible exposure durations according to the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on Artificial Optical Radiation (OStrV), and therefore an assessment of the arising risks - not only to welders, but also to employed persons at adjacent workplaces or at service paths. Depending on the welding technique, welding current, welded material, and distance from the arc, the relevant exposure limit values can be exceeded within fractions of a second up to a few minutes.
With an appropriate preparation of the mathematical emission models, employers, safety officers, and also the welders themselves are equipped with a simple, reliable, and practicable tool which allows them to assess the risks posed by optical radiation at the welding workplace on a straightforward basis.
Unit 2.2 "Physical Agents"