With the manufacturing sector reporting a skills gap, some higher education institutions are training their students to help fill positions in a growing economy. The expansion of vocational training and certification programs have also resulted in investments in safety equipment that ensure students will be protected from potential hazards. Arizona Western College (AWC) in Yuma, Ariz., recently updated its automotive facilities and will now do the same for its welding program to include a fume extraction system, which is integral to protecting worker and student health from toxic fumes.
Potential dangers to welding students
Welding fumes can expose workers to zinc, which can cause metal fume fever, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers.
“Fumes are solid particles that originate from welding consumables, the base metal and any coatings present on the base metal,” according to the ASSE report. “Despite advances in control technology, welders continue to be exposed to welding fume and gases.”
Without the welding fume extraction equipment to remove toxic gases at the source, students may have been at risk for developing symptoms of this medical condition, including flu, fever nausea and body aches, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Other chemicals that welders may have adverse reactions to include cadmium, which is considered to be a potential carcinogen, and beryllium. With higher education institutions concerned for the safety of their students who are pursuing careers in rewarding jobs like welding, engineering controls are necessary to keep their health protected.
Metalworking air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.