Amid ongoing investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into welding fume and metalworking exposure at engineering premises, leading testing, inspection, and certification firm Bureau Veritas is reminding businesses to control and manage exposure risk or face possible enforcement action.
Earlier this year, the HSE revealed its plans to inspect engineering firms from May to September 2021 with the primary focus to identify any risks to lung health as a result of welding fume exposure. However, inspections will also highlight other areas of concern when it comes to the COVID-secure measures being implemented.
Last year in the UK alone, 12,000 people died from lung diseases estimated to be linked to past exposure.1 Over exposure to welding fumes and metalworking fluids over a long period may cause workers to develop conditions including occupation asthma and hypersensitive pneumonitis, a serious and irreversible respiratory illness.
With the HSE now making regular inspections to engineering premises, Bureau Veritas is reminding the sector to tighten procedures around control and measurement of welding fume exposure, particularly Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) processes and use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE).
Joe Marais, Engineering Team Leader – Occupational Hygiene & Storage Equipment at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Welding fume and metalworking fluid exposure can pose a number of risks to employees in the engineering environment, from the potentially harmful fumes and gasses emitted during the welding process.
“We would encourage manufacturers to review their existing occupational hygiene programme to ensure it goes beyond simple compliance and includes a continuous improvement action plan to reduce the risks to employee health from exposure to hazardous substances.”
With an experienced network of occupational hygiene consultants operating nationwide, Bureau Veritas offers a wide range of expert, independent occupational hygiene services to help achieve and maintain safety in the workplace, whilst meeting the requirements of all relevant regulations.
The leading occupational hygiene expert is also hosting a webinar on Tuesday 15 June, which will cover welding fume and metalworking fluid exposure, the statutory requirements, determining exposure levels and controlling exposure.
To register to join the webinar, follow this link: https://bureauveritas.zoom.us/webinar/register/4616232372023/WN_RVQb9JlSS_e-JWd5rhtaDA
To find out more about Bureau Veritas’ services or to discuss individual requirements with a member of the team, call 0345 600 1828 or click here.