Respiratory protection concern for welders cautions expert
01/12/2010 - Respiratory protection is a significant concern for welders due to the release of gases and fumes as part of the welding process. Terry Gorman, Senior Occupational Hygienist - 3M Australia
While engineering controls, such as extract ventilation, can control those releases, in many instances it is necessary to wear a respirator.
During the welding process, fumes are generated that may cause long term adverse health effects. Some respiratory effects linked to welding contaminants include irritation of the respiratory tract, metal fume fever, Siderosis, Systemic Toxicity, Manganism and possible lung cancer. Safety guidelines recommend that welders use a particulate filtering respirator to protect against these hazardous fumes.
In general, it appears that welders are not doing enough to protect themselves from overexposure to welding fume. All organisations employing welders should be fully aware of the hazards associated with this process and provide the best possible control, training and equipment to minimise exposure to fume.
3M offers a range of solutions to protect welders against welding fumes. These range from the 3M Welder’s Respirator Kit that provides a complete respiratory protection system for all types of welding (MIG/MAG, TIG, and Stick), through to 3M Powered and Purified Air Systems especially designed for welding, including Speedglas Adflo options.
For more information about 3M welding protection solutions, visit www.3m.com/au/ohs
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