Whether car or aircraft, tool or toy, soldering is a crucial step in the making of objects comprised of multiple metal parts. Many durable goods industries employ workers to implement this task – which, simply defined, is the fusing of two or more metal pieces by melting a softer, more pliable metal and filling it into the joints between the harder pieces.
This ancient manufacturing process has long been considered both a skill and an art. Dating back to the early Egyptians, soldering was invented as a means of joining gold and silver castings to make jewelry and other practical objects. The types of soldering metals used 1000s of years ago were relatively safe and no thought was given to whether their burning was an environmentally friendly endeavor. Not so today.
As with any modern industrial manufacturing “hot work” (defined by OSHA as “riveting, welding, flame cutting or other fire or spark-producing operation”) (1), the act of soldering poses a number of occupational risks to laborers.
Though a common and necessary part of producing hard goods, the smoke and fumes created from the process can cause both short– and long-term health problems (2). Mild risks include diminished concentration, joint pain, allergic reactions, and eye, nose, and skin irritation. But toxic fume exposure can also pose serious risks, such as dizziness, confusion, and respiratory distress (most notably in the form of chronic asthma), all of which can potentially endanger the life of a manufacturing worker. (3)
In order to truly protect a laborer from toxic fumes emitted during the soldering process, employers must consider doing the following:
1. Employing a thorough risk assessment and identifying specific health hazards associated with manufacturing emissions (4)
2. Requiring workers to wear protective clothing, including breathing masks, if necessary
3. Ensuring that control measures, such as proper ventilation, are in place
4. Installing air cleaning equipment, such as source capture and fume extraction products
At Air Impurities Removal Systems Inc, we serve our customers by providing indoor air quality management solutions, which include the use of our stellar air cleaning products.
Contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced indoor environmental specialists.