Welding fumes are poisonous and subjects employees to devastating health related conditions, irrespective of whether they are directly or indirectly involved in the welding processes.
Toxic metals contained in welding fumes may include arsenic, beryllium, cobalt, iron, lead, chromium, cadmium, titanium, nickel, tin, silver, zinc, vanadium, aluminum, antimony, manganese and molybdenum.
Welding processes also produce a number of potentially harmful gases. Gases include helium, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride, iron oxide, nitric acid, argon, nitrogen, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and phosgene.
Re-classifying welding fumes as a *“Class 1” carcinogen, from its previous classification as “Possibly carcinogenic to humans” by The International Agency for Research on Cancers (IARC), is testament to its harmful nature to humans.
*Class 1 means that it causes cancer in humans.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH INHALING WELDING FUMES
Toxic fumes from welding activities generally have far reaching consequences on the health of operators and nearby employees.
Employees who are exposed to welding fumes can develop various forms of cancers, anemia, metal fume fever, kidney failure, nasal irritation, sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, eye irritation, skin diseases and Parkinson disease.
Prolonged exposure may result in lung damage and its associated complications.
SOLUTIONS FOR WELDING FUMES
Several methods are used by welding operators to protect themselves from the ill-effects of welding fumes.
Some of the methods, although good, are in many cases not able to guarantee adequate protection against welding fume. These methods include;
1. Welding Helmet with Powerer Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)
This method uses a filter unit powered by a battery. It is usually mounted on a belt and supplies clean filtered air to the welder’s welding helmet.
This method is usually used in enclosed workspaces where airflow is limited.
Although considered to be adequate protection, it is incapable of protecting other workers except the welding operator.
2. Dust Mask
This method is designed to filter available air for breathing within the vicinity where your employees work. The mask covers the nose and filters air particles.
Considering how small welding fumes are, some particles can penetrate the mask and are inhaled by your workers. Since the dust mask does not cover the eyes, your employees will suffer serious eye irritation and inflammatory conditions due to continuous exposure.
Often the mask gets blocked due to high level of particles entrapped in it. This makes it difficult to breath, the reason for which dust masks must be changed at regular intervals.
3. Ventilation Systems
These systems are used in welding workshops to dilute air within the surrounding workspace. Ventilation fans are either mounted on the walls, roofs or ceilings of the building to enable the ventilation system to work as required.
The method, however, benefits your employees who are not directly involved in the welding process, but subject the welding operators to direct exposure.
4. On-torch Extraction
Hoses and nozzles connected to the welding torch helps to extract fumes immediately as they are produced and are transported to a filtration system.
This method although very good has some challenges. Excessive suctioning might influence the shielding gas and result in porosity.
Your welding operators may also find on-torch fume extraction uncomfortable because it is usually heavier to handle.
5. At-Source Extraction
Extracting fumes as they are produced from their point of generation is the most effective way to protect your employees from the harmful effects of welding fumes.
At-source extraction guarantees absolute protection for all your employees in your welding workshop.
If the welding takes place at the same point, at-source extraction is the best solution. None of the above issues have been reported.
ENVIROX PRODUCTS FOR AT-SOURCE FUME EXTRACTION.
Our products available for you to deliver your employees from the harmful effects of welding fume are;
1. NexHD Arm
NexHD Arm is a high airflow at-source extraction arm that is ideal for fume and dust extraction in workshops where heavy duty welding takes place.
Our Nex HD arm have the capacity to extract heavy smokes, vapors and non-explosive dusts even when the fumes and dusts are at extremely high temperatures.
Nex HD Arm supplied by Envirox comes with a patented hood design that is made of aluminium.
2. FMC Dust Collector
Our FMC dust collector is made to guarantee effective extraction and filtration of welding fumes and dusts.
FMC dust collector extracts all fumes and dusts from the workspace as they are produced and channeled into a filtration system that purifies the air.
The modular compact design of FMC dust collector ensures that they can be mounted close to the source of fume and dust generation.
FMC Dust Collector System supplied by Envirox is independently tested with Atex compliant features for combustible dust.
3. Original Extraction Arms
Our welding fume original extraction arm is suitable in extracting welding fumes, smokes and dusts immediately as they are produced. The original extraction arm has an integrated hood system that facilitates effective fume extraction.
A swivel which suspends the extraction arm makes it easy to maneuver. It can be rotated in 360 degrees without any hitch.
The original Extraction Arm supplied by Envirox is available in lengths from 2 meters to 4 meters. It can be mounted on a ceiling, wall, bench or an extension bracket to make movement very easy for your welding operator.
FilterCart series are specially designed fume and dust extraction in workspaces where light to medium welding processes take place.
Our FilterCarts are mobile, which makes it easy to move from one working area to another. This guarantees you at-source welding protection from welding fumes irrespective of where your welding operation is taking place.
FilterCarts supplied by Envirox comes with an extraction arm and can be applied with HEPA filter for maximum efficiency.
FilterBox series are mobile filtration units designed for welding fumes and dust extraction in spaces where light to medium welding operations occur.
Our FilterBox has advanced filter control systems with automatic cleaning that starts when airflow is too low. The automatic and mechanical cleaning features of our FilterBox series make them one of a kind in the market.
FilterBox supplied by Envirox can easily be maneuvered and can provide additional protection from other particles when HEPA filters are installed.