What Does Hand Shield Mean?
A hand shield is a handheld welding mask that is meant to provide short-term protection to the welder or an observer. Hand shields protect the eyes and skin from damage caused by the heat and light emitted by the welding process. Where appropriate, they may be used instead of welding helmets or welding goggles.
A hand shield is also known as a handheld welding shield.
Safeopedia Explains Hand Shield
Protective equipment and clothing are necessary for workers who perform welding tasks. Given the various hazards associated with the work, welders must be protected from flames, sparks, heat, light, and fumes.
Eye and face protection is a critical component of a welder's protective gear, and depending on the type of welding and level of risk, this can take the form of goggles, face shields, or hand shields.
In addition to their use in arc welding, face shields also provide protection during plasma arc cutting, air-carbon cutting, and other similar tasks.
Eye and Face Protection for Welding Work
Welding arcs generate very bright lights and contain enough ultraviolet light damage the eyes. As such, the arc should never be viewed with the naked eye within a distance of 50 feet.
Sparks, splatter, and flying pieces of hot metal also pose a risk to the welder's face if it is left unprotected.
Safety goggles and hand shields can be used for short-term welding, while helmets are required for longer welding work. This PPE must be equipped with a suitable filter glass for all electric welding processes.
Components of a Hand Shield or Helmet
Hand shields have three primary components:
- A shell that is opaque to light and resistant to heat, electricity, and impact
- A filter lens made of a glass-containing filler material that reduces the amount of light that can pass through to the eyes
- A clear retainer lens that prevents broken pieces of filter lens from reaching the eyes
Both the shell and the hand shield must be heat resistant and built to withstand impact, scratches, and potential welding splatter.
Safety Regulations for Welding PPE
OSHA standard 1910.252(b)(2)(i)(A) requires the use of hand shields or welding helmets during all arc welding or arc cutting operations (excluding submerged arc welding). Hand shields do not provide appropriate protection during gas welding, which requires welding goggles instead.
The hand shield or helmet must be made of materials that insulate against heat and electricity. It should not be flammable and should be capable of withstanding sterilization.
The arrangement of the helmets and hand shields should be such that they protect the face, neck, and ears from direct radiant energy from the welding arc.
As with other PPE, a hand shield is only considered to provide adequate protection if it is well maintained and meets specific quality standards. In the United States they must meet the the ANSI Z87.1 standard; in Canada, they must meet the CSA Z94.3 standard.