Health topics in the engineering industry
Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause; irritation of the skin/dermatitis, occupational asthma, bronchitis, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, breathing difficulties or, rarely, a more serious lung disease called extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA), which can cause increasingly severe breathing difficulties in recurrent episodes, following repeated exposure.
Breathing welding fume can result in illness. Some welders may be ill for only a short time, others may get permanent illnesses like asthma. There is no easy way to know if it will be you. A few welders get so ill they have to stop welding and find a new career.
Noise can cause hearing damage and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It can interfere with communication, cause fatigue and tiredness, reduce efficiency, affect morale and distract and disrupt job performance.
Cleaning and degreasing
Various organic solvents are used in degreasing. The most commonly used are chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethylene, dichloromethane (methylene chloride) and perchloroethylene. Exposure to organic solvent vapour or liquids may be harmful to health, affecting the nervous system in particular. Ill-health effects can be both short-term and long-term and include headaches, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, unconsciousness and even death.
- Health and Safety in Engineering Workshops (HSG 129)
- Safety in the storage and handling of steel and other metal stock
- Engineering leaflets