Similar to the health concerns of silica dust in the construction industry, an unfortunate by-product released from the act of welding are welding fumes. The problem lies in the exposure that workers - not only directly involved, but also those in the immediate vicinity - find themselves susceptible to.
A variety of works, including construction, assembly, and fabrication, regularly require the fusion of materials together by way of welding.
Exposure risks can be magnified when accounting for the ventilation of an environment (e.g. closed or open), welding filter efficiency, and level of protective outfitting available.
The Constituents Within Welding Fumes
A host of identified carcinogenic metals can be found within the components that make up these fumes. From chromium to nickel, the uptake of these air toxins can lead to exposure in high-concentrations if a welding filter is not correctly installed.
Hazards Associated with Welding Fumes
When proper precautions are not adhered to welding fumes can become pathological to developing metal fume fever – an acute condition in which the afflicted persons exhibits aches, nausea, and increased resting temperatures; a syndrome symptomatic with the flu.
Repeated exposure to welding fumes has been known to lead to chronic respiratory conditions, such as welder’s lung – an affliction related to the build-up of iron oxides in the lung and is commonly seen as a precursor to the development of more serious lung diseases.
Epidemiologic studies involve analysing the associations, risk patterns, and susceptibility for a defined population being diagnosed with certain diseases. These studies have led to worrying results, highlighting the increased risk that welders face when it comes to different cancers, including lung, nasal, and kidney cancers.
Preventative Safety Regulations
Much work has been done by officially erected regulatory bodies such as the COHSR. Extensive control measures have been put into place surrounding the wellbeing of welders carrying out their duties.
Some of the regulations put into effect include employers abiding to the ventilation and welding filter necessities surrounding their work, such as having exhaust air not be redistributed into the work environment.
Detailed information surrounding threshold limits of exposure to the hazardous air contaminants seen in welding fumes can be found in the hazard guide for welding released by the government of Canada.
Choose Efficient Filters
As you can see, effective measures must be put into place to guarantee the well-being of those welding in your workplace, not only for the health of those under your employ, but also to consistently meet the standards laid out by regulatory bodies.
Picking the right welding filter can pay dividends in maintaining a strong hold on the ability for welding fumes to be released into the atmosphere. That is why the filter elements we manufacture at Dynamic Filtrations are centred on keeping the air in your work environment purer, for longer. Remember, a member of our team is always on hand to consult over your filtering needs!