Welding helmets and goggles provide personal and facial protection against intense light, weld spatter, and hot debris. They consist of a filtering light medium and a protective head and/or eye covering. Welding helmets are protective headgear that is worn to protect a welder’s eyes, face, and neck from flash burn, ultraviolet light (UV), sparks, and heat. Often, these welding helmets are worn during arc welding operations. Welding goggles are a form of protective eyewear that encloses or protects the eye socket from particulates, water, or chemicals. Both welding helmets and goggles are used to prevent welder’s eye or arc eye, a painful medical condition where the cornea becomes inflamed.
Welding helmets and goggles differ in terms of features. Auto-darkening products sense the presence of high or low intensity light, and adjust their filter level to keep the welder comfortable. Welding helmets and goggles with so-called “independent air” are designed to provide breathable oxygen to users in a closed-loop system. Typically, they are used in hazardous environments. Integrated light products have a built-in light source. Integrated radio products have a transmitter and receiver for two-way communication. Prescription / bifocal products offer a user-specific feature authorized by the user's medical doctor, such as lens correction, to assist the welder in performing work.
Some welding helmets and goggles are sanitary or hygienic. Others are ventilated. Sanitary or hygienic products are designed to protect welders against biological contamination. Typically, sanitary welding helmets and goggles are used in cleanroom, environmental remediation, and pharmaceutical applications. Ventilated welding helmets and goggles are also available. There are two basic types: passive and powered. Both offer open-system breathing through the inclusion of perforated holes or air channels to outside air. Powered ventilation uses a built-in (e.g. battery) energy source to move air, and can operate small cooling fans to produce forced-air for more-comfortable breathing.
Welding helmets and goggles may comply with or conform to various voluntary or regulatory standards. For example, ANSI compliant products meet or exceed one or more of the standards set by the American National Standards Institute. OSHA compliant products meet or exceed the requirements of the U.S. government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. CSA-approved products meet or exceed one or more of the standards set by the Canadian Standards Association, and carry the internationally-recognized CSA logo. Welding helmets and goggles that bear the CE mark are also available.