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Welding without proper ventilation is a health-risk Image: FreeDigitalPhotos

Welding without proper ventilation is a health-risk
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos

OSHA finds Imperial Industries ignores rules to prevent toxic exposure

Workers welding stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal at a Wisconsin bulk storage tank manufacturer were exposed to hazardous levels of hexavalent chromium.

At high levels, hexavalent chromium can cause lung cancer and respiratory, eye and skin damage.

After a complaint, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors visited Imperial Industries in Rothschild and identified two willful and 12 serious safety violations.

Proposed penalties total $161,100.

“Each year 50,000 workers die from exposures to hazardous substances like chromium during their careers. Failing to take steps to limit exposure to this dangerous substance is inexcusable,” said Robert Bonack, area director of OSHA’s Appleton office.

“Workers pay the price when companies don’t follow standards to reduce injuries and illnesses. Imperial Industries needs to take immediate steps to comply with safety and health standards.”

Inspectors determined employees were exposed to hexavalent chromium at levels exceeding permissible exposure limits while welding steels containing chromium metal. Chromium is added to harden alloy steel and help it resist corrosion.

Additionally, the company failed to implement engineering controls to reduce and monitor exposure levels among workers.

The November 2014 investigation also found workers endangered by amputation and struck-by hazards because machines lacked safety mechanisms.

Numerous electrical safety hazards were also identified, and workers were found operating damaged powered industrial vehicles.

Imperial Industries manufactures heavy gauge metal industrial tanks that are typically mounted to commercial trucks.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Source: OSHA

Concerned about exposure to toxic chemicals and gases at your workplace? Electrocorp has designed a wide range of indoor air cleaners with activated carbon and HEPA filters that remove dangerous chemicals, gases, fumes, odors and particles from the ambient air. Source capture units are also available.

Check out Electrocorp’s welding fume extractors or browse other industrial and commercial applications. For more information, contact Electrocorp by calling 1-866-667-0297 or e-mailing sales@electrocorp.net.

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Welding can expose workers to toxic fumes and particulate matter.

Welding can expose workers to toxic fumes and particulate matter.

An ongoing study focusing on female workers’ exposure to welding fumes and metal dust in metalworking and electrical trades has published some preliminary findings.

The researchers report that the study is now recruiting women from all provinces and territories across Canada, who can complete the questionnaires either in French or English by telephone.

Originally, the study focused on female workers in the province of Alberta. Participants can also complete the questionnaires online.

Up until this point, 531 women have completed the baseline questionnaire and 415 women have completed the first of the questionnaire about exposures at work.

The earliest participants are now nearing their 30 month follow-up questionnaire online or by telephone, having been enrolled for over two years.

Preliminary results focus on metal levels

At the time of their first exposure questionnaire early participants were asked to send in a urine sample so that we could examine the relationship between work and the level of metals inside the body.

There were 107 women who were working in their trade and provided a urine sample at the time of their first exposure questionnaire. This group included 56 welders and 51 electricians. Each urine sample was analyzed for a series of metals possibly related to work in the trades.

The result suggested that welders had higher levels of metals than the electricians, but the differences were small in most cases.

The researchers next looked at whether the metal levels differed depending on the tasks that were carried out on the last day at work before giving the sample.

Among electricians there were no differences in the metal levels, regardless of the tasks on that day. However, among welders, there were differences: those who reported stick welding had higher metal levels than women who did not do stick welding.

In addition, welders who reported TIG welding had lower metal levels than those who did not do TIG welding. We are continuing to analyze these metal levels and will have more results to share in future updates.

For those interested in participating can join the WHAT-ME study at http://www.whatme.ualberta.ca or write to whatme@ualberta.ca or call 1-866-492-6093.

Source: University of Alberta

Concerned about welding fumes and chemical exposures? Electrocorp has designed a wide range of air cleaners for industrial and commercial use, including welding fume extraction. For more information, contact Electrocorp today.

Welding without proper ventilation is a health-risk
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos

A British lighting company has been prosecuted for subjecting its employees to poor working conditions.

Despite specialists giving recommendations on how to improve standards, and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector uncovering multiple areas where the company was not meeting health guidelines, it continued to function under the same circumstances for at least eight more months.

The company was recently fined for sub-standard bathroom facilities, defects in the electrical system, little to no heating in the building, and no ventilation in the welding and powder-spraying sections.

These failings highlighted the extreme risks workers took when going to work every day. One inspector even stated he had never seen such poor conditions in the ten years he’d been an inspector.

This company is representative of poor indoor air quality sometimes found in the industrial sector. Many health hazards surrounded the workers, such as bacteria from the bathrooms, the risk of being electrocuted by the faulty systems, catching various colds or flus due to a lack of proper insulation and heating, and breathing in toxic fumes in both the spray booths and the welding area.

In 2010/2011, statistics revealed that work-related illnesses affected approximately 100,000 people in Yorkshire and Humber, England.

Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Indoor Air Quality in the Industrial Sector

Working in the industrial sector can be very stressful. Many people are faced with tasks that involve welding, sawing, electrical work, and/or the handling of toxic chemicals. Working with such materials requires a safe and healthy environment.

It is the companies’ responsibility to provide clean and toxic-free working conditions so employees will work more efficiently, and absenteeism, due to work-related illnesses, will be minimized.

A healthy working environment makes for a happier and healthier employee.

Improving a company’s indoor air quality

If you’re a company that is predominantly in production or manufacturing, and many duties involve welding, soldering, sawing, etc…, the best way to mitigate poor air quality is to use Electrocorp’s Fume Extractor series of air cleaners. With metalwork, it is recommended that each person have a Fume Extractor by his or her side.

Electrocorp’s Fume Extractor

The units have a spark arrestor as well as a maneuverable arm and intake hood which can be moved close to the fumes and sparks. The hood allows the toxic chemicals to be absorbed from the source and immediately taken out of the ambient air, thus providing a healthier indoor air quality for all employees.

The units use 40-80 lb activated carbon filters to adsorb the toxic chemicals, and HEPA filters help extract particles from the air.

Have you ever been ill from poor air quality at the workplace?

Do you run a company where you make sure the quality of the air keeps your employees healthy?

We want to hear from you. Tell us your stories, or feel free to ask any questions. We’d be happy to respond.

Show your support for green working environments by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp, please contact us.

Plaintiffs in welding fume litigation cases may be able to benefit from a resolution fund.

Exposure to welding fumes is a high-risk occupational hazard and often the subject of legal pursuits.

Now a US District Judge has set up a fund for a $21.5 million settlement in a multidistrict litigation over the hazardous effects of welding fumes.

The Welding Fume Resolution Fund created by Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley is overseen by a fund administrator, who can determine how the money is dispersed, in accordance with Law360.

The multidistrict litigation involved almost 100 lawsuits, and another 700 or more were pending in other state or federal courts.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits sought compensation for allegedly developing brain damage after exposure to dangerous welding fumes containing manganese from welding rods.

What are the effects of manganese?

Manganese poisoning (also known as manganism or “welders’ disease”) is caused by excessive exposure to the chemical element manganese (Mn), which is an essential component in iron and steel production.

The disease is sometimes mistaken for Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or multiple sclerosis.

Manganese poisoning has been the subject of a number of product liability suits brought by welders who claim that manufacturers failed to warn that their products could cause welding fumes to contain dangerously high manganese concentrations.

The MDL agreement was reached earlier this year and affects many of these plaintiffs trying to get some justice in court.

Source: Sokolove Law

Welding fume extractors can remove dangerous chemicals, gases

Welding is an important part of many business processes, but keeping workers’ health and safety in mind has to be of utmost importance.

One of Electrocorp’s welding fume extractors with source capture.

Electrocorp has developed industrial strength air cleaners for welding fume extraction that can handle the different chemicals, gases and toxins present in welding fumes.

The welding fume extractors contain a deep-bed activated carbon filter for gaseous pollutants, a source capture attachment for protection right where it’s needed and other filters for maximum overall dependability.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Welding can expose workers to toxic fumes and particulate matter.

A new study shows that former welders who were exposed to manganese from welding fumes have a risk of developing increased clumsiness.

The effects last long after the exposure has stopped, according to the study of former shipyard workers in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Previous research has linked exposure to manganese and welding fumes to effects on the central nervous system, but this study focused on the long-term effects on fine motor skills.

The welders in the study underwent several tests that measured their manual dexterity and motor speed, eye-hand coordination, tremor and balance. The results were compared to the results of other shipyard workers that did not do any welding.

Those participants that had a higher total manganese exposure showed a poorer performance, the study authors say, giving reason to believe there is a lasting effect of manganese exposure.

What is manganese?

Manganese is a naturally occurring metal in the environment and human bodies, where it aids in the turnover of carbohydrates and fats.

Workers who are exposed to high concentrations of manganese over a considerable time can develop a condition called manganism, a disease with symptoms similar to Parkinson disease.

Experts say that many welders may be regularly exposed to high-risk levels of manganese that exceed official exposure limits.

Source: Health Canal

Source capture air cleaners for welding applications

Electrocorp fume extractors offer a high-draw solution to welding smoke and fumes.

FumeSafe

Welding fume extractors help remove dangerous toxins.

The portable fume extractors feature at-the-source protection for removing airborne chemicals, vapors, fumes and smoke directly from the workstation.

The air cleaners feature 2″ HEPA fume filters that capture airborne smoke particles and a 40 lb. deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases and smoke odor.

The fume extractors are ideal for MIG, TIG, arc and robotic welding.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

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