In a scientific opinion commissioned by the Deutscher Verband für Schweißen (the German Society for Welding) entitled "Gesamtwirtschaftliche und sektorale Wertschöpfung aus der Produktion und Anwendung von Fügetechnik in Deutschland und Europa" ("Macroeconomic and sector value in the production and application of assembling technology in Germany and Europe") which was published in 2013, there were estimated to be approximately 260,000 welders in Germany and some 1,000,000 welders in Europe in the year 2011.
During the welding process, incoherent radiation of intermittent nature is emitted from the welding arc; unfortunately, the data basis for the risk assessment of intermittent and pulsed incoherent optical radiation is insufficient. The UV radiation exposure limit values specified by the German Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on artificial optical radiation are based on the biological efficacy of continuous radiation. The basic damaging mechanisms due to short-term exposure (thermal effect) are different from those due to continuous radiation (photochemical effect).
At present, the risk assessment of pulsed incoherent optical radiation makes use of the findings from research on laser radiation, but without any scientific verification of their applicability. Therefore, research on the biological efficacy of intermittent and pulsed incoherent optical radiation is ongoing, which will possibly result in the preparation of a new exposure limit value concept or the revision of the current concept.
Unit 2.2 "Physical Agents"