Welding is one of the most important industries in our infrastructures.The growth of the welding industry has been approximately 6% per year. It’s also one of the most dangerous industries to work in as far as health risks are concerned. Being surrounded by deadly fumes for hours without any source of letting them out can have negative impact on the body.
The dangers of welding ranges from glaring lights, fumes, intense heat to loud noises. The extent of these dangers depend on the type of welding being done and the precautions taken. The most dangerous of them being working in a workplace with no fume extraction system.
Why is it so harmful?
To better understand why welding fumes are so dangerous one needs to understand that there are metals being burnt during the welding process. As the metals burn and get welded into place, some particles are released into the air both large and small. In welding, the smaller the particles released into the air, the more dangerous it is to the people around. The smallest particles in welding are released as fumes; these fumes are complex mixtures of fluorides, metal oxides, and silicates, which are all harmful when inhaled. In simple terms when inhaling welding fumes, one is inhaling particles of the electrode being used and particles of the material being welded.
Sometimes after inhaling these toxic gasses, there are warning signs that the body might start to display one of the impending dangers of continuing to inhale the toxins. These signs are reminder to the welder to find a way to remove welding fume to avoid worsening the situation. Example of an after sign one may experience is metal fume fever that occurs after inhaling zinc fumes from welding galvanized metal. Some of the symptoms associated with fume metal fever are stomach pains, night sweats, and chills. Others also tend to experience headaches or shortness in breathing after inhaling other types of fumes.
With this knowledge of how harmful welding fumes can be to welders, it is important to look with so much focus on the methods of controlling these metal fumes. Fumes cannot be fully stopped on welding, as this will mean stopping the entire welding industry. However, the welding fumes can be controlled in a manner that will ensure that the welder is safe. The number one sure method of controlling toxic welding fumes is by use of fume extractors that extract the fumes at source.
Solution to the fume toxics
The fume extractions system’s main purpose is to offer the welders added advantages to their work and reduces the operating costs for the welding companies. Companies that have gone with the installation of fume extraction systems are in a great position to negotiate the health insurance and liability rates with insurance companies. Fume extraction systems are not only beneficial to the welding workers who are now saved from inhaling the toxic gasses, but it also beneficial to the company as the company can follow safety regulations. The system also decreases the maintenance cost of the welding equipment because the fume extraction system helps increase the lifespan of the welding equipment
All welding companies should realize that the risks associated with welding are high. To have fume extractors installed in workplace is an absolute necessity.