A significant danger in the workplace today is welding fumes. Welding exposure is common that up to two percent of the world’s population in industrialized nations have been affected in some way. Exposure to welding fumes can have debilitating effects on the human body for many years; it has the capability of causing serious long term harm. Proper procedures need to be implemented and monitored in order to make sure that employees do not fall victim to life threatening illnesses. As an employer it is important to do all you can to protect your employees.
What is in welding fumes?
There are many different and dangerous elements found in welding fumes. However, these compounds will individually affect different parts and systems in the body in different ways. Each different chemical in the fumes affect the body. Nickel and chromium are considered to be occupational carcinogens and manganese can be traced back to being a factor in Parkinson’s disease. Cadmium, if inhaled for either a long or short period of time can be fatal. The amount of time that it would take for the chemicals varies upon two factors: the amount time spent around the fumes and the concentration of the fumes being inhaled.
Why controlling welding fumes is important
The main reason it is imperative to limit exposure and properly monitor employees and welding fumes is safety. Many of the chemicals can seriously harm employees and leave long term effects hindering their ability to do daily activities. Ailments and illnesses such as: Parkinson’s, lung cancer, ulcers, heart and kidney issues can all be caused by the fumes inhaled by a person who is not being properly protected while working. Beryllium can lead to chemical pneumonia which can lead to significant weight loss accompanied by fatigue and weakness. Fluorides have been linked to osteosclerosis or reduction in bone density. Each chemical has a different PEL even the smallest amount of fume exposure can have the most damaging effects on the human body. Keeping employees focused on the job and not have them worrying about their safety can improve productivity. Employee safety affects every business’s bottom line and the ability to be profitable and continue to grow.
What precautions do employers need to recognize to keep workers safe?
There are many precautions employers need to utilize when it comes to employee’s safety and welding fumes. The easiest way to keep your employees safe is simply to monitor the employees and the fumes that they are working around. Monitoring the health and what the employee is doing can keep the person safe but also show that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe. Every person who is welding needs to have the proper ventilation. According to the OSHA standard 1910.252 (10) Welding and cutting with materials that contain zinc, lead, beryllium, cadmium and mercury, should only be performed using local exhaust ventilation and airline respirators unless atmospheric tests under the most adverse conditions have established that the worker’s exposure is within the acceptable concentrations.
How can AMI Environmental protect employees and the reputation of business?
At AMI Environmental, our main goal is to assist businesses and create a safe working environment, while adhering to government regulations. With decades of experience, our Industrial Hygiene Professionals work to help our clients not only protects workers but also manage risk. Allowing you to then enjoy the peace of mind knowing your employees will be protected from harm. AMI will work to establish and maintain a safe work environment, including surveying your facility for risks; provide testing within your facility; maintain testing protocol; and assist in the recording process. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule a lunch and learn please contact Doug Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org
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