Category Archives: Respiratory Safety

Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in Construction (Guest Post)

Since reducing the risk of fatal accidents and death rate within the construction industry is not an easy job, taking timely, effective preemptive measures is the only way out. Read further for a fair idea of what can be done and how!

The rate of accidents, injuries and deaths associated with the construction industry is much higher than most other areas of work. The most common reasons that make construction work perilous is possibility of deadly accidents with vehicles and falls from extreme height.

On an average, every third fatal accident at a construction site has one or more vehicles involved. Frequently occurring transport accidents at work include:

  1. Victims being stuck by moving vehicles, especially while reversing
  2. People falling from vehicles or hit by things falling from vehicles
  3. Overturning vehicles leading to serious injuries

What Can Be Done to Prevent Vehicle Accidents in Construction?

The first step towards reducing high death rate in construction industry is to reduce the risk of fatal accidents at construction sites that involve vehicles. Employers need to fulfill their legal duties and play a pivotal role in that case, especially by assessing risks and taking practical measures to ensure the safety of everyone around.

This may include maintaining accident records, training and consulting employees, and co-coordinating and cooperating contractors. The focus needs to be on planning and implementing collective safety measures, instead of giving individual measures extra importance. The basic idea should be to replace the hazardous with the harmless.

Taking Preemptive Measures for Vehicle Accidents in the Construction Industry

Practically, accident prevention should not start after the work has already begun on the construction site. Instead, designers, architects and planners can considerably diminish the risk of vehicle accidents by designing and planning well in the pre-build phase.

Risk assessment is the most important aspect that every employer ought to take care of, followed precisely by the conveyance of complete information to the contractors, verifying that the construction site is fully safe for the workers.

A thoroughly carried out risk assessment process involves:

Looking for Potential Hazards:

After you have evaluated the work the finished tasks, identify potential dangers that may be associated with the presence of heavy vehicles at the site. Operations such as reversing, loading and unloading always have a higher probability of damage being done at the workplace.

Factors that increase the likelihood of occurrence of such accidents more include rough terrain, continuous exposure to bad weather conditions, labor working under multiple contractors, and time pressure. You can involve both the workers and their contractors in the risk assessment process, explaining to them what has been planned to reduce the level of risk.

Try preventing the following things in particular:

  • Running over pedestrians
  • Overturning vehicles
  • Vehicle accidents caused by falls while climbing or working too close to power lines
  • Vehicle malfunctioning

Identifying Who May Be Harmed

Figuring out every possible factor that can harm individuals on the work site is the first step towards implementation of safety measures. This will include everyone from contractors, workers, self-employed individuals and even the general public. Pay special attention to the areas where vehicle movement is mandatory and you can’t exclude the public.

It is also possible to take note of the likely hazards during the designing stage while the construction cost estimation is being done. Take note of the design for safety and also ensure to calculate cost of making safety provisions.

Prepare an Action Plan after Evaluating the Risks

Evaluating the risks associated with each hazard on the site will help you calculate the possibility of harm and the level of severity. Check whether you have taken enough protective measures to ensure the safety of people on-site. Thoroughly revise all important aspects such as workplace design and signs and signals.  Ensure that all workers have the proper personal protective gear that is needed to complete the job safely.

Taking Action

Once the risk assessment process is completed, list all preventive measures based on priority. When it is time to take action, take all the workers and contractors along. Though your focus should be on implementing measures to prevent any accident from taking place in the first place, it will be equally important to have be prepared for the worst and have all emergency provisions in place too.

Author Bio: Laura Laurel is a Stanford graduate in civil engineer with specialization in Civil Designs, Cost Estimation and 3D Modeling. She began her career as a construction trainee at Viatechnik LLC, rose to be involved with road and bridge construction. She loves to write about Real Estate and Construction Related Subjects.


Waste management is an essential part of completing a job for a professional tradesperson or DIY enthusiast. The safe use of skips and containers can be a tricky path to tread for those unfamiliar with health and safety regulations and guidelines. Unbeknown to many, skip and container related accidents are a common occurrence, in fact, these are the leading cause of serious to fatal incidents in waste management and recycling plants.  Here we take a closer look at utilizing skips and containers safely to help you reduce the risk of serious injury.

Skip (dumpster) compatibility

Whether you are looking to buy or hire a skip for your upcoming project, ensuring that your skip is compatible with the skip loader is a vital step to safe usage. Mini skips, with a capacity of 1.5m3 to 2m3, are the most popular choice, especially for household or small commercial / industrial upgrades. However, many of these mini skips are not manufactured to suit the design of a standard skip loader. Larger skips however are designed to be compatible with standard skip loaders, and their 3m3 to 20m3 capacity ensures a sizable solution to waste management on larger projects. Recommended safety checks There are a series of safety checks that must be carried out to ensure the safe use of skips and containers.

Training is recommended for workers who use and unload skips and containers on a regular basis, these training programs ensure workers can identify faults or damage to the skip that would otherwise make it unsafe to use. Regular checks must also be carried out to check the condition of important skip and container components, such as the lifting and locking points, tipping bars, doors, restraints, covers and wider condition. Workers must also be aware of the importance of using the right type of skip for the task at hand, and the skip or container’s strength, stability and distribution of load weight must all be taken into account.

Identifying hazardous skip use

There are a number of scenarios that would make the skip or container hazardous to move or unload, including:

  • Overloading
  • Insufficient headroom when retrieving
  • Insufficient space around the skip or container
  • Placement on sloping ground
  • Placement on soft ground

If any of these relate to your skip or container then it is recommended that you seek specialist advice to improve safety and reduce risk before removal or unloading. Overly damaged skips and containers should also be removed from service completely.

This post was written by Brittany Thorley. She works for Cheshire Demolition ( and regularly advises on maintaining best practice for safety on both small and large scale improvement projects.

Note: Of course, workers in this field should take all precautions and wear the correct personal protective gear, such as gloves, safety glasses, hardhats, and possibly respirators  pb




Work safety has always been a top priority in the plumbing and heating industry. As plumbing is a profession that involves frequent exposure to hazardous situations and chemicals. Plumbing experts needs to be precise with regard to their health and work standards. Plumbing as a craft requires significant technical knowledge and involves much more than simply unclogging a sink or replacing a home shower. 

Typically, a plumber’s work involves working with a wide variety of plumbing tools and equipment in different challenging situations on a daily basis. It is therefore vital that all plumbing engineers are well aware of the risks involved in the occupation and are able to take the appropriate safety measures to minimize them. 

Professional plumbing experts like Plumbers 4U ensure that all their staff are trained and well versed in their own health and safety policies and adhere to safe working practices onsite. These emergency plumbers, working in the North London area and serving Camden, St. Albans, Enfield, Barnet and Brent, work to ensure that all projects are delivered in a professional, responsible and safe manner. 

 There are many well-known risks involved when working as plumber – but taking the correct precautions and safety measures will ensure safety and success in the field. 

  • Plumbers often need to work in close proximity to flammable or combustible substances, and risk exposure to toxic substances like lead, asbestos, adhesives, solvents, solder and sulphur dioxide
    Take proper precautions to avoid inhaling harmful vapours by using properly fitted respirators and ventilation systems, and use eye protection while working with chemicals and in areas where foreign materials may enter your eyes. 
  • There is an increased risk of injury while working with different tools
    Keep your equipment and tools organized and work in a clutter-free area. Inspect the different equipment for safety hazards before each use. All bench and hand grinders should be checked prior to use and should have the proper safety guards in place. 
  • Working in different awkward positions, and lifting heavy or awkward objects could cause back injury
    Work in a clutter-free area and work with your back hunched as little as possible. If lifting heavy objects, bend at the knee and keep a straight back, and do not try to lift something that’s too heavy. 
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures might lead to burns from steam or hot water
    Secure cut off valves prior to working with steam lines or hot water lines. 
  • Plumbers risk electrocution by working with electrical equipment in close proximity to water
    Do not work with electrical equipment while in water or if the equipment is wet, and inspect all electrical cords and plugs for exposed wires or cracks in the insulation before each use. 
  • There is a risk of slipping, tripping or falling on wet surfaces especially while working at heights
    Ensure that you use fall protection and that you take extra care while working at heights.  

Although challenging, there are a lot of benefits to a career in plumbing. You’ll be able to start your own business and set your own work timings, and can therefore set different appointments to fit your work schedule. You’ll never be short of work – plumbing is not an industry that can ever go out of fashion, nor can the need for plumbers ever dwindle. The profession also ensures a fairly good income, as you’ll be able to charge for your skills on an hourly basis. 

Sent to us by Ram Seth, writing for Plumbing specialists Plumbers 4 U ensure that all of their engineers adhere to the industry’s safety standards to avoid or mitigate some of the above risks, and as long as an accident-free plumbing workplace is maintained, which requires a commitment from everyone within a company, the profession of plumbing is a lucrative one.

We appreciate these safety tips, and all understand that plumbers do many jobs that none of us want to do. They know what they are doing, and are worth the charge. pb


Spring has made a late arrival here in North Central Texas, but Old Man Winter still thrives in other parts of the United States. With the arrival of warmer weather, all the weeds and other plants loaded with allergens start spreading their cheer around us!   Folks who have allergies are not looking forward to the misery associated with them. 

It’s also the time to plant gardens, mow the yard, and clean up and fix up what the cold weather left behind. As you prepare to start your seasonal yard work, stock up on face masks, goggles, gloves, sunscreen, and plenty of allergy medicine! Be sure your power equipment is in good shape, as it usually needs an annual checkup to be sure everything is running as it should. 

There is so much to look forward to during spring and summer: baseball, swimming, outings, summer camps, and hopefully, being with family more. Kids are anxiously awaiting summer break from school, so this means we need to be careful when driving down neighborhood streets. 

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also a part of spring that we would rather not have to deal with. So far, there have been fewer tornadoes for this time of the year than usual. But, as it warms up, conditions will make the atmosphere right for twisters. 

Be sure that you have a plan, just in case you must leave your home in the event of a severe thunderstorm, or worse, tornado. Every member of the family should know where to meet. A care kit should be packed with enough water for at least three days, non-perishable food, medicines, pet food, flashlight, blankets, and other supplies. Keep your cell phone charged at all times, just in case. 

Information from The Weather Channel shows that even as we push deeper into the heart of spring tornado season, 2014 has so far completely spared Americans the agony and grief of tornado-related deaths. The year’s long early safe streak has put 2014 in rare territory, historically. The modern era of tornado records began in 1950 with the advent of the storm database maintained by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. This year has now gone on longer than any other calendar year in that era without a tornado fatality. 

Another recent year’s long quiet streak ended rather violently when this April 20th marked the 10th anniversary of 2004’s first killer tornado, also an F3 in Illinois. Eight people died on April 20, 2004 when a twister smashed into Utica, Ill., causing a tavern to collapse. 

Even including what are likely incomplete historical records from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, 2014 already ranks among the top 10 years with the longest fatality-free start. It’s possible that some of those older years in the record had undocumented tornado deaths, which would move 2014 even higher in the rankings if we had perfect knowledge of what happened back then. 

With no tornadoes reported Monday, we now have to go back 99 years to find a calendar year when the first documented tornado death came later in the year – that was 1915, when the first recorded death came on May 5.

We are thankful that so far that we have not had any deaths as the result of tornadoes. Let’s hope that 2014 will continue to be a low record for killer storms.  Be prepared by listening for important warnings from your local television stations, NOAA, and the Weather Channel. 

Source: The Weather Channel


 Our parent company, Texas America Safety Company, is dedicated to providing the very best safety products for all types of business, from construction, office, manufacturing, healthcare, oil field, law enforcement, to the military.  Because April is Injury Prevention Month, we want to tell our readers that “Safety” is our middle name, and we are encouraging everyone to be as safe on the job, on the road, or at home or play as they can be. 

Safety is a keystone in every company’s foundation. Without a strong safety program, all other aspects of a company’s performance suffer.  Every company should have the goal of providing the best personal protective equipment and safety training for the entire work fleet.  Employees may become bored with the usual safety meeting presentations, so it is important that they are able to participate and be a part of the company’s plan in order to be in compliance with OSHA standards.  New employees should have the opportunity to understand what they are expected to do on their job – be trained the right way to do things, and have it explained in their home language in case they don’t comprehend English very well. 

There are many statistics on how many persons are injured or killed annually in car accidents, home accidents, sports, and work.  Our main objective is to help protect those who go to work every day with the plan of coming home safely at the end of their shift.  If you observe someone at your workplace who is “an accident waiting to happen,” tell your supervisor before it actually does!  We know there will always be someone who takes chances on the job, knowing they are at risk.  One false move may be their last.  Anyone who gets behind the wheel knows they are at risk of being in an accident.  The best advice is to pay attention to the other driver, and forget about the cell phone and other distractions.  Farmers know the best ways to operate equipment and how to handle animals.  They also know that an accident can happen at any time.  Construction workers are at the top of the list for injuries.  There are  many hazards for most jobs; we just can’t be too cautious about being injured. 

We ask that everyone uses a strategy to avoid becoming injured.  Taking your time and doing the job right, whether it is yard work, housework, playing sports, office work, or physical labor, do it right, and don’t risk having to go to the hospital.  Lost work time costs the employer; it may require hiring another person to replace someone temporarily while the worker recovers. 

Our EMT’s, firefighters, and law enforcement are to be commended, as they are the first responders in times of accidents; they treat the injured and rush them to hospitals for care.  Their jobs are not easy ones, and even they sometimes get injured on the job.  

Whether your job requires eye, head, hand, respiratory protection, or any other equipment, check out for your special needs.

Let’s all play it smart and stay safe.





Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries In The Workplace

This interesting infographic is from Rebecca Fox, of Westermans International, a UK-based welding company.  We appreciate this shared information and can learn what illnesses are prevelant in their respective industries.   


The Washington State area devastated by a mudslide Saturday, March 22nd, has seen much clear-cut logging.  Native American tribes and environmentalists have long warned that clear-cut logging could raise the risk of landslides.  Although the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest may appear solid and stolid, they are a geologically active part of the physical environment, including regular earthquakes, landslides, and the occasional volcano. Sometimes, human activities – including the clear-cut logging that patch-marks much of the region – have an important impact on forests, soils, and water patterns. 

The massive mudslide that hit  Saturday, March 22,  about 55 miles northeast of Seattle was part of that picture, all but wiping out the community of Oso across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.  As rescue and recovery efforts continued Friday morning, officials reported that the number of confirmed dead remains at 17 with another nine bodies located but not yet recovered. Ninety more individuals are still unaccounted for – large numbers in a small community of around 180 people.

The demand for lumber, plywood, paper, and other wood products is part of an industry that once dominated Washington State and Oregon.  Logging’s impact has been a concern for a number of years. Large, older trees take up more water than younger stands, which can take decades to mature and may be cut down before they reach full maturity. The Tulalip Tribes were so concerned with landslides hitting the Stillaguamish River and its prime salmon habitat that they blocked a proposed timber sale above an earlier slide in 1988.”There were some very large clear-cuts planned for that area, which made us very concerned,” Kurt Nelson, a hydrologist with the tribes, told KUOW, the NPR affiliate at the University of Washington in Seattle.  “That reach of the North Fork has multiple, ancient, deep-seated landslides,” Mr. Nelson said. “There’s a lot of unstable terrain in that area.”  Landslides have followed logging in that area at least four times, KUOW reported.

“This had been known at least since the ’50s as one of the more problematic areas on the Stillaguamish for perennial landslides,” Mr. Kennard,  (Geomorphologist Paul Kennard, who worked for the Tulalip Tribes in the 1980s and now works for the National Park Service at Mt. Rainier) reported.  Although state logging regulations have been tightened in recent years, The Seattle Times reports that a clear-cut nine years ago “appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed Saturday.” 

Heavy rains and winds are hampering rescue efforts, by both professional rescue teams and volunteers. The careful use of heavy equipment, helicopters, and other means of rescue continue.  Personnel are wading through debris, muck, trees, ice, and foul water.

 Meanwhile, the request by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for more federal assistance to help with recovery efforts in the Oso area has been approved. The money will be used to help local and state government agencies recover a portion of the estimated $4.5 million expected to be spent on emergency response, protective measures, and debris removal. Safety precautions should be used by all; pros and volunteers.  Wearing respiratory protection, gloves, goggles, hardhats, and protective clothing is important for the safety of those exposed to all types of hazards.

At his briefing Friday, Snohomish County Fire District Chief Travis Hots asked corporations and businesses in the region to donate money to help those affected. “Some of these people have lost their homes, some have lost their cars, some have lost their entire family,” he said. “Funerals will have to be paid for. Please dig deep.”  Chief Hots is the spokesman for search and recovery efforts.


Source: Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press


Onsite equipment operation can put operators at high risk for injury, no matter their skill or experience level. In fact, it was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that in just one year, 8,450 amputations were performed due to occupational injuries caused by machine operation. To significantly reduce the risk of worker injury, it is imperative that employers make equipment operation as safe as possible on their job sites. While there is always risk for injury, there are certain measures you can take to eliminate a substantial amount of risk in your operations. To give you a better idea of how you can start developing a plan for safer equipment operation, we’ve provided the following five safety tips to help you get started!

  1. Safety equipment

Safety equipment is a vital component of any workplace, especially for onsite equipment operations. To increase the safety of your workers, facilitate and enforce the use protective clothing and gear. Goggles should always be supplied and used to protect your workers’ eyes. Depending on the type of equipment you operate on your site, you may want to use full face goggles. It is also imperative that your employees wear gloves and closed toe shoes. Hard hats are, of course, another important item to include in the safety gear you provide your workers with. You will also want to include ear protection, dust masks, safety signs, and first aid kits.

       2.  Training

Workers face fewer hazards when they have the proper training and information necessary to operate the machinery onsite. Employers need to provide employees with training, offer instruction manuals, and make certain that each employee can effectively operate their equipment before allowing them to work independently.

         3.  Driving and Operating

Before your employees operate any equipment, it is important that you make sure that it has been properly inspected and serviced. Training your employees to thoroughly check surroundings and confirm full clearance before moving or backing up will also prevent accidents. It is important that your employees know to never leave a machine on an inclined surface with the engine running and never allow additional riders on equipment that does not permit them.

       4.  Maintenance and Repair

When gear is under repair, place a sign saying “Under Repair” in the seat, remove the start key, or lock out controls. Remind your workers to stop engines during refueling and shut off equipment before making repairs. It will also be important to carefully inspect all used construction equipment before putting it to work to ensure that it has been properly maintained and is ready for safe operation.

         5.  Parking and Security

Remind your workers to always lower allocates and set the parking brake before dismounting the equipment. Be sure that they are securing the equipment when finished for the day, making sure it is clear of foot traffic. If it is not clear, they will need to mark it with glares or red lights and lock it up.

Your employees need proper training, safety evaluated work areas, proper safety equipment and effective operation procedures to operate industrial machinery and high-tech equipment. Safety is always the most important objective when operating heavy equipment. Now that you know how you can create a safety plan, it’s time to get to work! Start by developing policies, ordering necessary safety equipment, and updating your workers’ training as well as your machine maintenance. 




Unseen Dangers of Workplace Nobody Will Tell You About (Guest Post)

It would not be wrong to say that every workplace has some dangers lurking for the employees. These often go unnoticed by the employees,  sometimes causing much damage and irreparable injury.  It could be a result of carelessness on the part of the management, lack of required security for workers or simply ignorance about the existence of the danger a particular activity or device holds. This post looks into those potential dangers and discusses workplace hazards we need to be careful and alert about. 

Workers in the Hospitality and Services Industry 

All those working in hotel kitchens and whipping up delicious dishes would probably never have thought about constant dangers they are exposing themselves to. The heat and fumes that they are constantly functioning in are extremely damaging to the health of the lungs. The hot pans and bulky vessels are other sources of burns and injuries that workers in the kitchen often work with and take little care. Poor lighting in kitchens, uncared for inflammable substances are other dangers lurking around in the kitchen. 

The owner of the place must ensure proper lighting, storage, ventilation and functioning appliances in proper condition for the employees.   On the other hand, the relatively innocent looking fryers and pans could also be sources of danger. While there should be a warning board displayed in every restaurant kitchen for newbies, that isn’t the case always. And so nobody will tell you that you never put anything frozen in a fryer, the oil will bubble up and burn your hands. Similarly you must always use gloves to handle pans and pots, even those that have handles. Also a slightly unwelded or loose handle can cause the pan and its contents to fall on you. Sharp objects in the kitchen exist in abundance and you must always be careful when handling knives, scissors, peelers and other sharp objects. 

Workers in the Construction Industry 

Construction workers have one of the most high risk jobs. They are constantly exposed to all sorts of danger at work. Four workers falling to their death on Christmas Eve in Toronto was a complete jolter and again brings into focus the nonchalant, lackluster attitude some employers have towards the safety of their workers. 

While working around a backhoe, being electrocuted, cut by machines and crushed between boulders and vehicles are the obvious dangers workers are encountering at all times, there is another latent kind of danger that is of late becoming increasingly common in the construction industry. It is this phenomenon called “independent contractors”. A lot of desperate, migrant workers function as cheap labor and pump in their blood and sweat (literally) into these industries. The scarey fact here is, that employers are completely exploiting these “independent contractors” as they are not properly covered within the employment benefits.  The employers as well as the insurers can get around not paying them benefits and worker’s insurance coverage. 

States must take into account these desperate workers and make laws that help them to cover expenses and financial blows experienced due to an injury at the workplace. These workers can also seek legal counsel from aggressive and dedicated personal injury lawyers who will fight for their rights and litigate to secure them the best possible settlement in the given circumstances. 

Besides these, construction workers are exposed to a number of other things that can be highly dangerous to them. Contaminated building products lead to a lot of damage in the worker’s bodies but one building product that few people know is very harmful for workers is asbestos. Painters, demolition workers, roofers, masons and bricklayers are all exposed to asbestos in some form or the other. There has been an increased incidence of peritoneal cancers and lung cancers in asbestos exposed workers. Studies have revealed that employers are using much higher concentration of asbestos than recommended,  which is immensely harmful for the employees.  Respirator protection, eye protection, and safe gloves are required for these workers.

When Working as Drivers

Motorbike delivery services, truck drivers, taxi-drivers, chauffers may get into the job thinking it is relatively risk-free. After a few days into the job they will know it’s not. You are expected to meet deadlines when you are in the delivery service and travelling on a bike, you will be speeding for your job. A fall or an accident can never be too far and you are always at risk.

Those jobs that involve loading and unloading can give you serious spine and back injuries. Many drivers also become a victim of violence and assault while on the road, which most of them do not expect and are not prepared for.  Prolonged sitting on the job  can lead to a lot of health problems like backaches and bad posture. Handling of constant communication tools even while on the road is dangerous though not deemed so by the owner of the vehicle or the driver. If you are in this profession, avoid using your cell phone as much as possible. Moreover, your job can involve engines, brakes, doors malfunctioning anytime, which can again lead to serious accidents.Regular servicing and maintenance of the vehicle is a must to make the automobile/truck as safe as possible for the drivers.

When You are a Farmer or a Rancher

While many believe farming as one of the most safe and satisfying occupations, the truth is slightly deviated from that. Satisfying, yes, probably for most, however, there are a lot of dangers lurking in farming as well. Constant exposure to various types of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides can lead to breathing problems as well as allergies. Ask a farmer and you will believe me.  In addition, you are also dealing with some pretty big animals (who have horns and teeth) on your ranch. They are well behaved and somewhat tame, but if any of these animals get out of control, they can severely injure you – causing fractures, deep cuts, or spinal injuries.  Hence, it is not surprising to know that the death rate percentage among farmers and ranchers as high as 21.3 per cent, which makes it  actually counted as one of the most dangerous occupations in U.S.A.


Most of us spend the largest chunk of our lives at the workplace whether it is a farm, car or office. Each place and each job comes with some inherent risks and potential dangers. Some of these dangers are known to us and we know how to tackle them. But there are other physical and emotional dangers associated with the job as well, which we may not be aware of and that is what makes them all the more risky. If you have discovered any such unknown danger at the workplace, letting others know will help save many from injuries, fatigue and fatalities.

Author’s Bio: 

Attorney Mike Hulen is a personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Hulen & Leutwyler, LLC in Colorado. Hulen has more than 30 years of legal experience in helping the people to rebuild their lives after being injured in accidents.  Whether you are looking for a strong representation in your personal injury case or need immediate help, call us at 888-717-7891.


As many welders know, one of the most important aspects of the job is to protect themselves from weld fumes and the toxicity associated with these externalities. To avoid health risks, weld fume exposure levels should be checked periodically to be certain that the levels fall within Occupational Safety and Health Standards Association’s (OSHA) acceptable exposure limits and the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists’ (ACGIH) threshold limit values. 

While the amount of audits depends on the size of the company and the amount of welding, weld fume audits should be done regularly. Even though every welding environment is different, these must be evaluated by a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to determine the appropriate course of action for fume controls (if any). The CIH will monitor the air in your facility and offer consultation on necessary next steps. 

Welding different materials gives off large amounts of heat, light, and gas. This exchange can release hazardous gases and fumes, not visible to the eye. Over the years, studies have found that welding stainless steel can cause occupational asthma. This occupational asthma is not only linked to stainless steel, non-stainless steel welding can actually be more problematic as occupational asthma has been reported without any specific agents determined as the cause. 

While the list of health hazards linked to weld fumes is ongoing, many are associated with respiratory issues.  Lung and skin cancers are also linked to overexposure of metal fumes, over long periods of time. With eye and skin irritation rounding out the less invasive illnesses related to dangerous weld fumes. 

When an audit is performed, the CIH will check for acceptable levels of hexavalent chromium Cr(VI). If an audit shows levels of Cr(VI) higher than OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), then further action must be taken. While this action varies upon the company size and exposure levels, there are items on the market today that offer preventive maintenance along with long-term improvements in air quality. One product sold by Lincoln Electric is a fume extractor that’s an in-house standalone system used to continuously filter the air, in order to extract welding fumes released during the fabrication process. These extractors can also be modified to force ventilation through the roof or wall fans. Another in-house option is the use of detection panels. These panels are often used with the extraction systems in order to prevent, detect, and suppress fires in the welding and fume extraction equipment. 

Outside of installation, individual responsibility is also paramount to keep people safe from weld fumes. It’s important that you know how to protect yourself. Facilities need to have good ventilation, perform air quality tests, and determine if a respirator is necessary for the task. Whether or not your facility is at risk for Cr(VI)exposure, it’s crucial to stay informed about exposure and the risks involved with welding. Proper preventive measures can be substantial in hindering the dangerous health risks associated with the incidental inhalation of weld fumes.

“Katie Netherton is a blogger and writer for an SEO and marketing company. She has a background in journalism and contributes articles for various newsletters and websites.”