Breathing in dust, gases, vapours and fumes at work can lead to life-changing lung issues. Most commonly, lung disease and lung cancer.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to protect their employees that operate mild steel welding, or they could fall foul of a change in enforcement expectations that were announced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this year.
The changes came following the publishing of new scientific research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has suggested that exposure to all welding fumes, including mild steel, can cause lung cancer. There is further evidence also linking it to kidney cancer, which had accumulated in a change in the law.
The HSE is strengthening it’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, as it believes general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.
There are a number of companies out there that may not know that the guidance has changed and the enforcement is now stronger, and so could be putting staff at risk if the right ventilation controls aren’t used.
Under the new guidance, manufacturers who weld mild steel now have to put in place engineering controls for all indoor welding activities. The HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.
If you are worried you may now not be compliant, you can find more information on – http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm.
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