Engineering worker - common causes of asthma

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) can cause occupational asthma if you inhale the mist or vapour generated during machining/shaping operations. MWFs can also cause dermatitis.

Follow the link to the metalworking fluids MWFs site for more information

There have been several outbreaks of asthma-like disease using MWFs.

See COSHH Essentials - engineering for detailed advice on control.

Top tips

  • Minimise mist generation in machining and in washing components.
  • Check water-mix fluids for microbial contamination - use dip slides.
  • Keep the fluid and sump clean.
  • You need regular health surveillance.

Reduce disease - reduce exposure to metalworking fluid mists

Minimise mist by enclosing the machine head as much as possible. Provide low misting fluids delivered to the cutting tool at the right rate. Provide mist extraction on enclosed machines.

Further information


You can find more guidance and information for engineers on the Asthma publications (engineering) pages.

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