During the processes of machining and metalworking, oil-based cutting fluids are used to cool and lubricate the machinery. During the working of metals in conjunction with cutting oils, a fine mist can be produced which can cause a health risk to the operator. This aerosolized cutting oil can not only be hazardous to the respiratory system but also to the skin with long term symptoms including dermatitis and rashes. Exposure to the oil mist over long periods of time can lead to chronic coughs and bronchitis.
This is why proper protective clothing must be worn by those who are exposed to this mist. Chemical resistant suits should be considered and if suits are found to have been penetrated, the suit should be taken off and cleaned as recommended by the manufacturer. Respirators or masks should also be worn in order to protect the respiratory system.
Factories or workshops which employ machinery used for machining and metalworking should have a suitable air filtration system installed. Mist collectors are also used to catch the cutting oil particles and remove them from the air. The mist collectors can be placed on or around an individual machine or can be strategically placed in particular areas where there are many machines in use. It is always a good idea to regularly check filtration systems and mist collectors to ensure they are in good working order and also to replace consumables when necessary.
Employee safety is or should be paramount in any organisation where machinery is used and all staff should be properly trained in the correct use and application of such machinery. They should also be made aware of the dangers of handling and using chemicals. Regular refresher training should be offered to ensure all health and safety regulations are adhered to.
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