New York Firm Protects Workers from Exposure Hazards to Welding Fumes
Of the more than 500,000 workers in U.S. that are involved in welding, cutting, and brazing, many are employed in occupations in New York City and the surrounding tri-state region. These can be dangerous occupations according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which reports that the risk from fatal injuries alone is more than four deaths per thousand workers over a working lifetime.
A significant health risk for those involved with welding activities is exposure to potentially hazardous fumes and gases. During welding, visible smoke that contains harmful metal fumes and gas by-products is produced that is often in the breathing space of the welder. Without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or ventilation, these fumes and gases can be a respirable hazard.
OSHA has developed a fact sheet discussing these hazardous fumes and gases that could be present during welding. The agency lists the following metals that may be a component of welding fumes, they include: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silver, tin, titanium, vanadium, and zinc. The agency also lists the following gases that may result from welding: argon, helium, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, phosgene, hydrogen, and fluoride.
“Exposure to many of these gases and fumes could result in everything from various types of cancer and stomach ulcers to respiratory irritation and asphyxiation to name just a few concerns,” said Michael Berrevoets, President, VOETS, LLC. “OSHA standards in place are meant to protect workers from these hazards and failure to comply could result in costly penalties and jeopardize the health and safety of these workers.”
Companies, institutions, and government agencies can turn to VOETS to protect their workers from welding fumes and gases and to implement programs to comply with OSHA standards. VOETS’ industrial hygiene experts offer air testing services, ventilation audits, respiratory plans, and employee fit testing among other services. They also recently sponsored an educational video about welding fumes and exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/IZjJUDMPrrY