When it comes to welding, by law employers must protect workers by controlling the health risks associated with welding fumes. This law applies to all workers who carry out any welding work and not just those who are specifically welders. All welding fume carries with it the potential to cause lung cancer which is why controls are so essential. Welding fumes are also found to cause other health conditions such as asthma.
There are various ways to control the risks to health associated with welding fume, they include using alternative cold joining techniques, employing local exhaust ventilation and using respiratory protective equipment. In addition to this, workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be aware of the risks.
There are certain duties befalling employers concerning the provision and use of PPE at work. PPE is equipment which is designed to protect the user from health and safety risks at work. PPE tends to include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high visibility clothing and safety footwear as well as safety harnesses.
Ideally, PPE is used as a last resort and should only be used if it is still needed after implementing other controls mentioned earlier. PPE must be provided by employers free of charge, it must be chosen carefully, and employees must be trained to use it properly.
When choosing PPE for specific situations consider the following; who is exposed and what are they exposed to? How long for? And how much of it are they exposed to? Equipment must be selected which suits the user and which they will use; users must be fully trained to use PPE.
It is important to be strict when it comes to PPE; never allow employees to be exempt from wearing PPE even if jobs are short and make sure if you’re in doubt about anything associated with PPE you seek help from your supplier or a specialist advisor.
It is essential that PPE be properly cared for and maintained; it must be cleaned and kept in good condition if it is reusable. Also, make sure replacement PPE is available in case of emergency and that it is stored appropriately. Where visitors are concerned, you can invest in disposable suits which can be disposed of after use to reduce maintenance and laundry costs.
When it comes to PPE it is essential that it be monitored and reviewed regularly to ensure it is being used and used properly.
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