Manufacturers’ OSHA Compliance Needs to Include Clean Air Measures

OSHA compliance requires air filtration for workers that are exposed to toxic fumes when they are welding, especially if they are in confined and enclosed spaces.

While the manufacturing industry is still strong in the US, employer missteps might prevent continued growth and stability. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) previously fined a Hartford-area welding contractor $165,550 for failing to protect workers from occupational safety hazards. The reason for their fine included their failure to educate workers about hazardous chemicals in the workplace, chemicals such as toxic welding fumes.

“We found no evidence that the employer made any effort to safeguard its workers from these serious hazards that prompted great concern and various citations upon initial inspection,” said Warren Simpson, the OSHA area director in Hartford. “Left uncorrected, workers are exposed to burns, falls, lacerations and other potential injuries. For the health and well-being of its workers, the employer must take effective action to correct these hazards and prevent their recurrence.”

Workers may also develop dizziness and nausea from a low level of exposure to welding fumes and gases. When workers experience these symptoms, they should leave their work space and find fresh air. In addition to the health effects described by the OSHA press release, exposure to gases, such as argon and carbon dioxide, can also result in suffocation, especially when workers are welding in enclosed work areas.

Equipment for welding fume extraction, such as fume extractors, can reduce the level of toxic gases in a work area by removing the gases before workers can inhale them and develop harmful health effects to their respiratory systems.

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