Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- In Puerto Rico and across the rest of the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that there are over 500,000 workers in a wide variety of industries that perform welding, cutting and brazing activities. These workers face potentially hazardous conditions that pose a unique combination of both safety and health risks according to the agency.
The welding process produces visible smoke that often contains harmful metal fumes and gas by-products. A significant hazard for these workers is inhalation exposure to these substances. In fact, OSHA has developed a fact sheet about hazardous fumes and gases that could be present during welding that discusses potential exposures to everything from lead, cadmium and arsenic to nitric oxide, ozone and carbon monoxide to name just a few. The health effects of inhaling these fumes and gases range from respiratory irritation and lung damage to various types of cancer. Exposure to some welding gases at high concentrations could also create asphyxiation hazards.
“Workers have a right to a safe work environment,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces, and there are multiple OSHA standards that address welding activities meant to protect people carrying out these activities.”
To assist employers in providing a safe work environment for welders and other workers, Zimmetry Environmental offers industrial hygiene and air testing services to help ensure workers are not being exposed to hazardous fumes and gases. They also provide consulting services on respirators, personal protective equipment and ventilation for industrial facilities and jobsites. In addition, Zimmetry recently sponsored an educational video about welding fumes and exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/IZjJUDMPrrY