A boilermaker suffered a serious eye injury from a fragment of shattered grinding disc penetrating the inner lens of his welding helmet and subsequently his eye. He was grinding a repair weld on the lower stabiliser link of the dragline with a 5″ electric grinder when it is believed that the tool jammed. It appears that when the grinder was released, the disc shattered and penetrated the eye protection.
The injured person was transported to an eye specialist for treatment, but has suffered a permanent loss of vision in his left eye.
Preliminary outcomes from the resulting investigation indicate that the following factors may have contributed to the injury:
- The work environment was restricted, necessitating the boilermaker being in close proximity to the area being ground; . The jamming/stalling of the grinder and subsequent failure of the disc wheel;
- The inner lens of the welding helmet, which should be impact-resistant, may inadvertently been replaced with an ‘anti-splatter’ cover lens, which would have offered little impact resistance.
The following actions have been instigated by the company concerned:
- Discussion of the incident, possible causes and interim preventative measures with worksite personnel.
- An interim measure of mandating a face shield and safety glasses to be worn whilst performing grinding, as opposed to welding helmets;
- Checking of all welding helmets to ensure the correct lens plates are installed and that they are in the correct position;
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