People ought to know exposure to welding rod fumes at work has to be controlled. There were reported new changes regarding beryllium and hexavalent chromium requirements for protection. It is common knowledge that welding activities at work can cause major health problems unless possible and actual exposures of workers to the toxic fumes are determined, assessed carefully, and regulated. The total numbers of chronic and acute exposures show a comprehensive evaluation of the potentials, dangers of getting exposed, and possible regulations.
Welding rod fumes at work
Welding is used to attach metal parts by using heat, which causes the materials to soften. Once it cools down, the metal parts are strongly bonded together. The fumes generated through this process are comprised of combined substances such as fluoride, metallic oxide, and silicate. Aside from these, there are also other impurities and outside layers that may produce even more toxic mixtures that are harmful to people. People should be informed that this process makes use of metals as well as other agents which workers call fillers or materials used for flux-cored welding. Furthermore, the welding process may be done on fresh clean supply of metal, fresh metal with residual components that possibly had come from the factory and other old metals from previous uses with toxic residues.
Not all welding fumes are the same. However, the likelihood for exposures during welding process involve fumes such as beryllium, cadmium, aluminum, chromium, hexavalent chrome, lead, fluoride, manganese, copper iron oxide, nickel, zinc oxide, and vanadium. Moreover, the probability for exposure during welding to these sources and other resultant gases from mild steel, nickel alloy, stainless steel, and others are high.
Issues concerning fumes and welding
There are a number of factors in terms of potential exposure to welding fumes that involve employees who perform the welding process. These factors include:
- Metals used to weld on
- Flux, fillers, and rods used for welding
- Use of shielding gaseous materials
- Impurities and coatings that have been part of the metals used for welding
- Various gases produced while welding
Potential dangers associated with welding include eye injury due to arc flash; burns on the skin; radiation burns; dangers of exposure to live electrical materials; and fires.
Protection for workers
There are a number of options to protect workers from exposure to fumes while at work. Based on the hierarchy of controls one alternative is local and general ventilation. Another option is obtain more comprehensive training as well as regulated work schedules and locations. Also, a good option is respiratory protective equipment such as supplied air or air purifiers. The company, employer, or management can make the decision which among the available options is most fitting for the place of work and the exposure reports anticipated.
Some changes to requirements for protection involving beryllium and hexavalent chromium have supplied relevant information. Furthermore, other research studies have demonstrated an association between fumes such as manganese produced through welding and certain illnesses like Parkinsonism. A likely good alternative is to eradicate or at least lessen all exposures to toxic compounds.