Re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion of weld­ing fumes likely to lead to greater up­take of hel­mets that min­imise fume in­hala­tion

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - EMEX -

Pro­tect­ing welders against weld­ing fumes is an on­go­ing topic of dis­cus­sion. This is partly be­cause of the im­por­tance to main­tain welder safety, and partly be­cause of the com­mon law and statu­tory obli­ga­tions of em­ploy­ers to do so. The sub­ject is again in the spot­light fol­low­ing the re­lease of find­ings by the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Cancer (IARC), which re- clas­si­fied weld­ing fumes as “car­cino­genic to hu­mans”.

(See the ref­er­ence ab­stract at The Lancet On­col­ogy) http://www.the­lancet.com/jour­nals/lanonc/ar­ti­cle/PIIS14702045(17) 30255- 3/ab­stract

For em­ploy­ers, there clas­si­fi­ca­tion of weld­ing fumes as “car­cino­genic to hu­mans” will spur many to con­sider chang­ing the type of weld­ing hel­mets is­sued to their staff, or sup­plied by sub con­trac­tors work­ing in a weld­ing en­vi­ron­ment on their be­half.

Tra­di­tional ba­sic weld­ing hel­mets do pro­vide pro­tec­tion against dif­fer­ent in­ten­si­ties of light from arc flash us­ing ap­pro­pri­ate shad­ing in weld­ing lenses. They also protect against air­borne metal­lic de­bris from the grind­ing process by us­ing a suit­able grind­ing vi­sor, as well as af­ford the welder phys­i­cal pro­tec­tion against ex­ter­nal hazard. How­ever, the I ARC find­ings will now likely fur­ther fuel the need for the use of hel­mets that also min­imise the risks as­so­ci­ated with in­hal­ing weld­ing fumes.

When as­sess­ing such hel­mets, em­ploy­ers and welders should con­sider in­te­grated res­pi­ra­tor sys­tems that sup­ply pos­i­tive pres­sure air flow to re­duce heat dis­com­fort ex­pe­ri­enced from con­tin­u­ous weld­ing. The sys­tem should also in­clude fil­tra­tion that re­moves par­tic­u­late, fume and odour. Ad­di­tion­ally, the sys­tem would in­clude a gas sc rub­ber/ fil­ter to re­move po­ten­tially harm­ful el­e­ments in vapour phase as­so­ci­ated directly with the weld­ing ac­tiv­ity. These safety fea­tures, when com­bined with a hel­met that max­imises the view­ing area and clar­ity, of­fers sim­ple hel­met ad­just­ment con­trol or change to a grind­ing vi­sor func­tion with­out the need to re­move the hel­met, will likely help to en­sure the weld­ing ac­tiv­ity is achieved with­out for­go­ing qual­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

At EM EX 2018, Stand 2035, Kemp pi will be dis­play­ing its range of es­tab­lished high qual­ity weld­ing hel­mets which are all de­signed com­pli­ant to rel­e­vant AS/ NZ stan­dards. The range in­cludes the lat­est GAMMA se­ries, which in­cor­po­rates tech­nol­ogy fea­tures to meet welder safety, com­fort and work qual­ity needs.

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