Welding hazards latest update
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revised their guidance to employers who carry out welding activities. This means that businesses involved in welding operations must review their risk assessments and control measures to meet the requirements of the new findings. This welding hazards update provides important information for those who carry out welding operations.
Occupational ill health has for too long been a silent killer; and it’s brilliant news that more emphasis is being placed on prevention.
Welding is reported to cause around 150 deaths every year in the UK; and as such is one of the top 10 causes of work related cancer. Importantly workers must also be made aware to understand potential repercussions of not using control measures. This is especially important for young workers who may be more likely not to wear respiratory protective equipment provided by their employer.
Acute health effects include irritation to the throat and lungs with potential for lung function to deteriorate.
Health effects associated with chronic conditions are not only related to cancer, but include effects on the nervous system, metal fume fever, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma, which was required to be controlled under COSHH Regulations from 2017.
Reducing Risks, Promoting Prevention
The President of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), Karen Bufton, urged employers to implement proper controls and ensure that they are being used correctly.
The BOHS President stated “Workers are still being exposed to high levels of welding fumes and gases because in some workplaces, either there are no controls in place, inappropriate controls are being used, or the controls provided are not being used properly.”
(Source: IOSH accessed February 2019)
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DID YOU KNOW ….
The HSE are working with BOHS and interested parties on the BREATHE FREELY Campaign. With tools and resources take a look at how the Breath Easy Campaign could help inform your business.
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Make sure your staff are kept aware of welding hazards and the need to work safely