Weld Fume Ventilation and Filtration Sytems that Control Fine Particulates
Any manufacturer with welding operations is likely already aware of many of the dangers of the process. Whether your operation uses manual or robotic welding, weld fumes raise serious concerns. Foremost among these concerns is the threat to workers’ health if weld fumes are not captured.
Most weld fumes contain toxic metals that constitute a serious danger to workers. The extreme heat involved in welding creates fumes with metal particulates less than a micrometer in diameter. The smaller the particulate the easier it is inhaled and absorbed into the body. Toxic particulates such as hexavalent chromium can travel in these fumes. Exposure to this substance is known to cause cancer and other serious health problems. Without a comprehensive weld fume control system in place, workers are at risk throughout an entire facility.
Regulatory compliance is another reason to invest in industrial ventilation and air filtration systems. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the quality of the air that workers breathe. Manufacturers must comply with OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” to provide a workplace that is safe and healthy. Welding facilities, in particular, must comply with air contaminant requirements that address permissible exposure levels (PELs) for specific toxic substances, such as manganese and hexavalent chromium.
Concerns over weld fumes go beyond the normal health and regulatory issues, however. Weld fumes can reduce worker productivity. In the short run, decreased concentration and stamina can be measured in reduced speed and accuracy. In the long run, productivity effects will also be felt through increased absenteeism. Weld fumes can also reduce worker satisfaction and increase turnover. If a workplace is unpleasant or unsafe, skilled workers who have other options are likely to start pursuing them.
An investment in ventilation and filtration systems is an investment in safety and long-term productivity. Taking steps to improve air quality safeguards employee health, ensures regulatory compliance and improves the bottom line. Few investments yield such broad returns in both performance and potential.