Hand Shield

Last updated: December 11, 2019

What Does Hand Shield Mean?

A hand shield is a type of welding mask that is designed to be hand-held by the observer for a short duration. Where appropriate they may be used in lieu of welding helmets and goggles, which are designed for long-term use and allow both of the welder’s hands to remain free. The hand shields, goggles, and welding helmets are used as a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) and are designed to protect the eyes from damage due to the heat and light emitted during the welding process.

Hand shields and welding helmets also protect the face, neck, and ears against damage from direct heat or welding spatter hazards that are associated with certain welding activities.

Safeopedia Explains Hand Shield

The use of welding PPE is required by law in all countries with developed occupational safety administrations; for example, OSHA standard 1910.252(b)(2)(i)(A) requires the use of hand shields or welding helmets during all arc welding activities. Hand shields do not provide appropriate protection during gas welding—welding goggles must be used for these activities.

The primary components of a hand shield are the shell and the lens. The shell must be an opaque material that does not allow any light to pass through, while the lens must reduce the amount of light that passes through it in order to protect the eyes of the wearer. Both the shell and the hand shield must be heat resistant and built to withstand impact, scratches, and potential welding splatter.

As with other PPE, a hand shield will only be considered to provide adequate protection if it is well maintained and meets specific quality standards. In the United States, hand shields must meet the ANSI Z87.1 standards, while in Canada, they must meet CSA Z94.3. Adequate PPE must be provided to employees free of charge, and employers have a duty to ensure it is being used correctly.

In addition to their use in arc welding, the use of hand shield (or welding helmets) may also be required for other activities, such as plasma arc cutting and air carbon arc cutting.


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