What is Hydrofluoric Acid?

What is Hydrofluoric Acid?

Hydrofluoric acid (HF), which termed as ‘The Bone Seeker’, has been used in glass etching, rust removal, petroleum refining, tanning and dyeing since mass production in 1931. It has become an indispensable raw material for the semiconductor industry and an important catalyst in the petrochemical process. Depending on its concentration, exposure to HF can cause death.

Where hydrogen fluoride is found and how it is used

  • Hydrogen fluoride is used to make refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline, aluminum, plastics, electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs. Sixty percent of the hydrogen fluoride used in manufacturing is for processes to make refrigerants.
  • Hydrogen fluoride is also used for etching glass and metal.

How you could be exposed to hydrogen fluoride

  • In a natural disaster, you could be exposed to high levels of hydrogen fluoride when storage facilities or containers are damaged and the chemical is released. This release could occur at an industrial site or even a retail location.
  • You could be exposed to hydrogen fluoride if it is used as a chemical terrorism agent.
  • If you work in an occupation that uses hydrogen fluoride, you may be exposed to this chemical in the workplace.
  • You may be exposed to hydrogen fluoride as part of a hobby.

How hydrogen fluoride works

  • Hydrogen fluoride goes easily and quickly through the skin and into the tissues in the body. There it damages the cells and causes them to not work properly.
  • The seriousness of poisoning caused by hydrogen fluoride depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and preexisting medical condition of the person exposed.
  • Breathing hydrogen fluoride can damage lung tissue and cause swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
  • Skin contact with hydrogen fluoride may cause severe burns that develop after several hours and form skin ulcers.

What Harm Does Hydrofluoric Acid Cause to the Human Body?

HF is a weak acid but highly toxic and corrosive. The harm to the human body can be divided into the skin, respiratory tract, eye, and digestive tract. The main cause that contributes to a life-threatening situation is still skin exposure. There might be no obvious symptoms at the beginning, but if it is not treated in time, the black necrosis of the affected part must be amputated or even cause death

Human Centric Lighting

Say it a boon or curse, but due to the modern lifestyle, our indoor stay time has increased rapidly. As we spend 90% of our time indoors, we do not consume the adequate amount of sunlight which is paramount for the human body. The indoor light conditions do not deliver light nutrition that people need to stay healthy. A sunny outdoor day provides 100,000 lux and a cloudy day still provides 10,000 lux. Indoor light levels are not even half of that. This artificial light that we have in our indoor environment (offices, homes, etc.) can throw off our eternal clocks and cause issues with sleep. It can further lead to destructive health consequence i.e. poor circadian synchronization, problems with body clock similar to jet-lag, disturbance of hormonal system, and compromised mood and productivity. This lack of exposure to the sun’s spectrum disturbs the Human Circadian System which is fundamental to our physiology and controls much of our behaviour.

Human Circadian System

“This diagram depicts the typical circadian pattern of a person. Although circadian rhythms tend to be synchronized with cycles of light and dark, other factors such as ambient temperature, lack of sunlight, stress, etc. can influence the rhythm as well.”

The natural variations of sunlight help determine the timing of our internal clock called the circadian rhythm and tell our bodies when to sleep and when to be alert. If our sleep-wake cycle is deregulated, it can affect our immune system, memory, and behaviour. Our health is somewhere suffering in this disconnection between natural light and artificial light. Though we cannot cut short our indoor stay time, but by replacing the conventional lighting solutions with human-centric lighting we can surely make a big difference.

Benefits of Human Centric Lighting

Light affects our vision, body, and emotions. Human Centric Lighting enhances human performance, comfort, health, and well-being by balancing visual, emotional, and biological benefits of lighting for humans. It also improves alertness and concentration during learning by providing a better light environment. Lighting systems that give higher light intensities and colour temperature at the right time can help to improve the duration of sleep and quality of sleep and thus improve learning effects.

  • Maximizes the concentration and energy.
  • Improves work performance and productivity.
  • Increases employee motivation and commitment.
  • Assures health safety in the indoor environment.
  • Improves circadian rhythm and quality of sleep.
  • Biorhythm adjustments for night shift workers.
  • Increases emotional stability and lowers the rate of depression.

Human Centric Lighting should be implemented across various sectors to ensure the well-being and performance of people at a maximum rate.

  • Education Sector

Schools are an excellent location for tuneable white light features. It doesn’t matter if the person is an elementary scholar or a teacher, both can leverage the benefit from an optimized lighting environment in a direct or indirect way. Human Centric Lighting can be used to improve alertness during tests and concentration tasks. The teacher may switch on an intensive, cool white light during these activities, or a warm white dimmed light for relaxation and group talk.

  • Healthcare Sector

Healthcare environments (operation rooms, recovery rooms, intensive care rooms, etc.) are well suited to implement Human Centric Lighting. To improve the conditions for patients, nurses, and surgeons, HCL should be implemented because it dives the room in different lighting zones depending on the tasks. This results in less strain on the eyes, less fatigue, and improved quality.

  • Residential Sector

Incorporating HCL in residential areas can prevent mood fluctuations, depressions, and stabilizes the circadian rhythm. The emotional and physical well-being can be improved because of restful nights in better environments. The residents can feel more relaxed with fewer headaches and less tired eyes.

  • Offices Sector

Corporate areas are excellent places to implement Human Centric Lighting as it can bring energy and motivation to employees. For countries with little daylight, HCL solutions may reduce seasonal depressions and other emotional disorders. Workplace lighting, in addition to providing enough light to conduct work-related visual tasks, can also improve employees’ alertness, mood, cognition, sleep-wake pattern, and health.

It is important to understand how light can impact the occupants’ health, productivity, and overall potential. With the range of modern lights options available (LEDs, tuneable white lights, etc.), establishing a safe and healthy space is easier than ever. They are also energy-efficient and easy to control with advanced control systems. Human Centric Lighting promotes smart and connected lighting systems that can create endless possibilities with better user control.

LED solutions from Panasonic helps customers across all the sectors to achieve the right balance of lighting solutions. It has helped millions worldwide with the energy-efficient and cost-effective Human Centric Lighting solutions. It offers an amazing array of LED lights – panel lights, ceiling lights, spotlights, etc. and trusted by homeowners, large corporations, hospitals, hotels, institutions, administrations, etc. for their lighting requirements.

The Rules When You Use Scaffolding

Many types of construction projects use scaffolding, but how do you know when you need scafolding? And what indicators mean that need scaffolding as part of your project? There are many factors to consider when deciding if the job requires scaffolding.

1) What are the Rules?

In most cases, health and safety guidelines advise that if you have more than four people working at height, then a proper risk assessment needs to be carried out. The conclusion of such a risk assessment will usually be that the safest way to carry out the job is with scaffolding. A good scaffolder will erect a safe scaffold structure for buildings and structures of any shape, size and dimension to ensure a safe fit for all tradesmen who will be working on the structure.

As per the HSE website, those with duties under the regulations must ensure that:

    • All work at height is properly planned and organised
    • Those involved in work at height are competent
    • The risks from work at height are assessed, and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
    • The risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • The equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained

2) How Big is the Job?

Scaffolding can seem surplus to requirement for small ‘one-man’ jobs, so in these cases, many people use a safely-secured ladder. However, ladders can only be used for low-risk, short duration work, and sometimes a ladder doesn’t give you full access to the entire roof and so the job only gets partly done. It’s important to remember that scaffolding is not only designed to keep those working at height safe, but also those on the ground. If there is any risk of tools or materials falling from the roof, then scaffolding with an edge fitted around the platform is essential to retain a safe working environment for all your workforce.

3) How Long Will the Job Take?

Scaffolding is advised in cases where the project involves working at height for more than three days, and also where weather is looking temperamental. Cornwall is notorious for its sudden weather changes so it’s crucial to retain a safe working environment by installing a temporary roof or scaffolding structure to maintain optimum safety for your project.

4 ) The Activities Requires Scaffolding

Scaffolding for Home Improvements

When a homeowner or landlord decides that they want to extend their kitchen, convert their loft or replace their rundown roof, more often than not they will require scaffolding to be erected in order for the work to be completed.
Construction workers may need access tower to reach the roof, or work platforms to make their job more comfortable and to get the work completed a lot quicker.

Scaffolding for Painters and Decorators

Painters can be expected to work at substantial heights for their job which means that scaffolding is important for keeping them safe and providing a secure work platform. They need to be able to place their tools and equipment by them as they work and move around the site with ease and safe access to all areas of the building.

Scaffolding for Building Repairs

When maintenance work is being carried out on a building (typically this is the gutter or roof), there is an increased risk of injury due to the faults that are being repaired. This could be surfaces that are not stable, tiles that are loose and structures that are at risk of falling. Hence, scaffolding can help reduce these risks by providing a safe surface and area for work to be carried out.

Scaffolding for Window Cleaners

Cleaning windows of larger commercial buildings, such as office blocks, hotels and retail stores, will require more than a ladder. Windows can often be found as high as twenty storeys and puts window cleaners at risk of falling from a fatal height. Scaffolding is one way of ensuring their safety and enabling them to carry out their job with ease and comfort.

Scaffolding for Building Inspections

Building inspections include checking the credibility and safety of buildings and structures. This inspection requires safety equipment to be installed such as scaffolding since it often involves reviewing the infrastructure’s various parts that can be located hundreds of metres above the ground. Additionally, you have to remember that the scaffold installed should adhere to safety standards.

Working At Height

Working at height is one of the most dangerous workplace activities. It presents a variety of different hazards for workers that would not typically be found when working at ground level and it has an increased probability of death or permanent physical injury due to its very nature. Therefore, it is so important to ensure that a thorough risk assessment is conducted before any work at height is carried out and that all workers are trained so that they can work safely. Identifying the potential hazards that workers may face is the first step in protecting them.

Stability of work platform/roof

When working at height there will be a work platform of some sort involved and many times this may be the roof of a building or some scaffolding. As long as the scaffolding undergoes a comprehensive and regular inspections. This means using a reputable scaffolding hire company and scheduling weekly scaffold inspections.

When work is being completed on a roof, it is often because it needs repairing or replacing which means that the surface is likely to be fragile and not very sturdy or secure. Falling through or off a roof is a common accident on construction sites so you need to consider the use of specialised equipment such as roof ladders and supported crawling boards to reduce the risk.

Weather

Though weather itself is beyond our control and often unpredictable in the UK, it is necessary to be prepared for rain, snow, ice and any other extreme conditions that may present itself.

Rain and ice can create slippery surfaces, strong winds can dislodge materials and even workers themselves and heatwaves can cause heatstroke and dizziness putting workers at risk of collapsing and falling from a height.

Workers can adapt to these changing weather conditions by implementing the appropriate precautionary measures when needed. For example, in extreme heat they should keep themselves hydrated and in strong winds they should carry out initial checks of their equipment and materials to ensure it can withstand the conditions.

Distance of potential falls

It is necessary to be aware of the distance at which work is being carried out and how injury from a trip, slip or fall can be prevented or greatly reduced should an accident happen.Once assessed, you may find it appropriate to provide workers with PPE such as a fall arrest system to keep them safe and secure should they fall when working at height.

Objects falling from height

It isn’t just the workers carrying out the work at height who are at risk, but anyone in the vicinity working or passing by below is in danger. Materials or equipment that is being used at height has the potential to fall and strike someone below which can cause irreversible damage.

To prevent an accident such as this, ensure that workers understand how to stack and store items at height to avoid them from being knocked/falling over. The working platform may also require guardrails or toe boards to completely prevent objects from slipping over the edge and you may even need to set up restrictions on the ground below so that no one passes by the area.

Safety Tips for Working At Height

Some sure-fire safety tips to keep in mind when working at height:

  • Set up railings correctly and ensure that safety belts/harnesses are connected properly.
  • Check your equipment still functions effectively before using it at height as malfunctions from a distance can be fatal.
  • Use the correct equipment for the job – this means having the correct size and type of ladder and using crawl boards, lifts or scaffold when required.
  • Use ladders properly – many workers still use ladders wrong when working at height, remember that at least one hand or three limbs should always be on your ladder .
  • Understand your roofing regulations – these are often misunderstood by many workers, so it is best to brush up on them before working on roofs at height.
  • Signage – make sure that safety signs and posters are present and clearly visible to remind workers of the safety precautions they are required to take on the site.

How Far Do You Know?

The things you should know about your torque wrench

Torque wrenches are common place across a variety of industrial processes, commercial garages and even homes wherever there is a precision assembly process utilising threaded fasteners. Considering their widespread use however, there remains a number of things that people get wrong or simply don’t know.

Here Philip Brodey at Norbar Torque Tools highlights the top ten things to consider:

  • Storing your torque wrench

When a torque wrench is in regular use it does not need to be wound back. However, when storing a torque wrench for an extended period of time, users should always wind it down to the minimum scale setting and never to zero. A fully loaded torque wrench, left in storage for a long period, can cause a set in the spring, causing it to weaken over time. On the other end of the scale, by completely off-loading the spring, other components within the wrench may move fractionally relative to each other. When you reapply spring compression the orientation of these components can change, therefore affecting accuracy. All in all, it is better to leave a bit of compression in the spring while in storage.

  • For accurate results, one click is enough

Users often allow torque wrenches to click multiple times, without being aware of the additional torque being applied to the bolts. Operate your torque wrench in a smooth and steady manner and remember that one click is enough.

  • Using your wrench on an anticlockwise thread

Many torque wrenches will only indicate in the clockwise direction. Therefore, it is necessary for users to always check the wrench’s specification before using it on an anti-clockwise thread to ensure the tool is suitable and, prevent a loss of torque control. Examples of left-hand threads include the left-hand wheel nuts of certain vehicles and the left pedal of bicycles.

  • Converting between torque units

Converting torque units can be tricky but is a very precise process. To help users calculate units more easily, they can turn to Norbar’ s calculator app available on IOS and Android. Alternatively, the calculator is also available online at https://www.norbar.com/Home/Torque-Unit-Converter.

  • Adjusting your torque wrench

Equipment manufacturers will always provide the required torque for any given piece of equipment and so when adjusting your torque wrench, it is important to ensure that these levels are met. Remember to always adjust the wrench up the scale to the required torque figure to ensure accurate setting.

  • Using marked loading points for accurate results

Most torque wrenches are length dependent and feature a marked loading point on the handle but, many people don’t use it. For accurate results, most torque wrenches have to be operated with your hand centred over the marked load point. It is also essential that this load point is observed when it comes to calibrating the torque wrench.

  • Using torque wrenches for undoing

So long as users operate with caution and do not exceed the maximum torque, most torque wrenches can be used for undoing. However, if the bolt will not free within the maximum torque of the wrench, another tool should be used instead. By exceeding the maximum torque limit during a bolt loosening you can affect the wrench accuracy, causing problems for future use. If in any doubt, use another tool for loosening bolts.

  • Adding extensions to the torque wrench handle

Users should never put a pipe or any other kind of extension onto a torque wrench handle as doing so can seriously damage the tool and make it inaccurate, never mind the potential safety hazard.

  • Locking it in

It can be all too easy to accidentally adjust the settings of a wrench during use so, if your torque wrench is fitted with an adjustment lock, you should always apply it before operating the wrench in order to avoid any unintended changes.

Dangers! Be Careful at Work

Despite special emphasis programs from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and increasingly sophisticated fall-protection equipment, falls from height remain a serious occupational safety challenge.

Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of falls. Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The U.S. Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for 8 percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards. OSHA mandates that any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs protection. Fall protection must be provided at 4 feet in general industry, 5 feet in maritime and 6 feet in construction.

Experts have identified six major recurring errors in fall protection. From the least to most common, they are:

  1. Mistake No. 1: Waiting for the free fall.
    Don’t wait for a fall to occur before taking action to update your fall-protection plan. When identifying a fall hazard, analyze the likelihood of fatal or serious injury, as well as the amount of time employees will be exposed to the hazard. Basically, you want to eliminate the fall by changing the work process or environment. If you remember these three steps for proper fall protection  eliminate a fall hazard entirely, prevent a fall from happening and provide personal fall-arrest equipment — you will save lives and prevent serious injuries.
  2. Mistake No. 2: Anchorages that miss the mark.
    Selecting inadequate anchorages is a major problem. The best harness with the best lanyard or lifeline cannot arrest a fall if the user chooses unsuitable anchorages. An anchorage must support 5,000 pounds for a single tie-off point for one individual. In all cases, the free fall should be limited to 6 feet or less. An anchorage should be positioned directly overhead whenever possible to avoid a swing-fall injury, and anchorages should be
    selected based on how a rescue would be performed.
  3. Mistake No. 3: Lack of communication/training.
    Lack of instructions—in the appropriate language—is a key reason people misuse equipment or don’t use it at all. Safety directors need to check the instructions provided with the equipment and ensure they provide proper training. As an employer, you can determine the training format. What’s important is that, through training, your employees can recognize fall hazards and know procedures to minimize the hazards. It’s important that the trainer knows the hazards at the work site, knows how to eliminate or control the hazards and knows how to teach workers to protect themselves. That’s why the trainer must be a competent person. (A competent person is one who can identify work-site hazards and who has management authority to control them.) The trainer must know and be able to explain the following:
    • The nature of fall hazards at the work site
    • Procedures for erecting, maintaining and disassembling fallprotection systems and personal fall-arrest systems
    • How to use and operate fall-protection systems and
    personal fall-arrest systems
    • The role of each employee who may be affected by a safetymonitoring system
    • The restrictions that apply to mechanical equipment used
    during roofing work
  4. Mistake No. 4: Know when to say when.
    Knowing when to remove a product from service is key to safe working conditions. You must inspect
    equipment regularly and take it out of service if it shows wear and tear. Using equipment past its useful life, especially a lanyard, is a potentially deadly mistake. A good idea is to adopt a smart policy: If in doubt, throw it out. The benefit of an extra week or month of service isn’t worth the risk. Be on the lookout for fraying, cuts and deformed metal hardware. Also, exposure to heat and chemicals can cause damage. Finally, signs of deployment mean you can no longer use that safety equipment.
  5. Mistake No. 5: Which way does this go?
    Although more workers today are using fallprotection gear, they don’t always use it correctly. In many instances, workers wear the harnesses too loose. While misusing harnesses in that way is a big mistake, many contractors also buy incorrect equipment for specific applications. One common example is that many contractors buy shockabsorbing lanyards and use them in areas with inadequate fall clearance. A retractable lifeline or a fall limiter should be used, instead, depending— of course—on the circumstances.
  6. Mistake No. 6: Not using fall protection equipment.
    Many users ignore the need for consistency in using fall protection. Thus, it is important to have a plan and implement it, and that means wearing fall-protection equipment every day. The plan should include identification and evaluation of fall hazards and their elimination, if possible; the use of appropriate fall-protection systems to prevent or control falls when you can’t eliminate hazards; ensuring that employees receive fall-protection training; and inspecting and maintaining equipment.

Is PPE important?

As an employer, you are in charge of a safe and healthy working environment for your employees. You are familiar with the safety risks within your sector, as well as the measures you can take to counteract these risks.

What is Personal Protective Equipment ( PPE ) ?

PPE means personal protective equipment or equipment you use to guarantee your (own) safety. Use PPE always and anywhere where necessary. Observe the instructions for use, maintain them well and check regularly if they still offer sufficient protection.

Why is PPE important?

PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk. Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly. Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

  • the lungs, eg from breathing in contaminated air
  • the head and feet, eg from falling materials
  • the eyes, eg from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
  • the skin, eg from contact with corrosive materials
  • the body, eg from extremes of heat or cold

1. Safety for The Head

Wearing a helmet offers protection and can prevent head injuries. Select a sturdy helmet that is adapted to the working conditions. These days you can find many elegant designs and you can choose extra options such as an adjustable interior harness and comfortable sweatbands.

2. Protect Your Eyes

The eyes are the most complex and fragile parts of our body. Each day, more than 600 people worldwide sustain eye injuries during their work. Thanks to a good pair of safety glasses, these injuries could be prevented. Do you come into contact with bright light or infrared radiation? Then welding goggles or a shield offer the ideal protection!

3. Hearing Protection

Do you work in an environment with high sound levels? In that case it is very important to consider hearing protection. Earplugsare very comfortable, but earmuffs are convenient on the work floor as you can quickly put these on or take them off.

4. Maintain a Good Respiration

Wearing a mask at work is no luxury, definitely not when coming into contact with hazardous materials. 15% of the employees within the EU inhale vapours, smoke, powder or dusk while performing their job. Dust masks offer protection against fine dust and other dangerous particles. If the materials are truly toxic, use a full-face mask. This adheres tightly to the face, to protect the nose and mouth against harmful pollution.

5. Protect Your Hands with Right Gloves.

Hands and fingers are often injured, so it is vital to protect them properly. Depending on the sector you work in, you can choose from gloves for different applications:

  • protection against vibrations
  • protection against cuts by sharp materials
  • protection against cold or heat
  • protection against bacteriological risks
  • protection against splashes from diluted chemicals.

6. Protection for The Feet

Even your feet need solid protection. Safety shoes (type Sb, S1, S2 or S3) and boots (type S4 or S5) are the ideal solution to protect the feet against heavy weights. An antiskid sole is useful when working in a damp environment, definitely if you know that 16,2% of all industrial accidents are caused by tripping or sliding. On slippery surfaces, such as snow and ice, shoe claws are recommended. Special socks can provide extra comfort.

7. Wear The Correct Work Clothing

Preventing accidents is crucial in a crowded workshop. That is why a good visibility at work is a must a high-visibility jacket and pants made of a strong fabric can help prevent accidents. Just like the hand protection, there are versions for different applications.

The importance of meeting OSHA standards for ventilation

Improve the air and your bottom line

How healthy is the air in your fabrication shop? Do you feel comfortable and safe working there for hours at a time? You should. It comes down to having the right ventilation. Here are some options.

From slippery floors to noise, numerous hazards exist in every workplace. But one of the very worst hazards is polluted air, particularly in the welding environment.

Regardless of the industry concerned, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that hazards of all kinds be controlled at the source. In some industries, it is possible to build an engineered barrier between the hazard and the workspace. Additionally, specific personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn or used to minimize any type of risk.

In the welding industry, common PPE includes safety goggles, welding helmets fitted with filter glass, gauntlets, spats, aprons, and heat-resistant gloves. Work areas also should be screened off so that others in the work area are not exposed to the electric arc or its reflection while welding is being conducted. The intense light associated with the arc can cause permanent eye damage.

The dangerous health risks of breathing in welding fumes are horrendous. In addition to relatively minor symptoms like dizziness; nausea; and nose, throat, and eye irritations, OSHA warns that prolonged exposure to welding fumes and gases over time can result in lung damage and various forms of cancer. Welding fumes also can cause stomach ulcers, damage to the nervous system, kidney damage, and conditions like metal fume fever.

Welding in confined spaces is particularly risky and can lead to asphyxiation and suffocation.

If the OSHA standards are met or, better yet, exceeded, welders and other employees working in potentially hazardous environments will have clean, unpolluted air to breathe.

OSHA Standards for Ventilation

It is essential that all welders understand the hazards they are exposed to. It is even more important that employers take steps to minimize these hazards.

While general ventilation that ensures natural or even forced movement of fresh air in the welding environment reduces gas and fume levels, this is not adequate. Not even welding outdoors or in open spaces provides sufficient ventilation for welders. Rather, local exhaust ventilation systems should be employed at the source to ensure that fumes, welding dust, and harmful gases are removed from every worker’s breathing zone.

Flexible or portable exhaust systems should be positioned to remove the polluted air away from the welder’s breathing zone.

Alternatively, general mechanical ventilation can ensure that welding fumes and polluted air are minimized and maintained within safe limits that meet OSHA’s health and safety regulations.

Figure 1: Traditional push/pull, duct-type ventilation system.

 

If necessary, additional respiratory protection may be needed, particularly if adequate ventilation cannot be provided.

But these are minimum specifications; ideally, a proven general mechanical system should be used together with a local exhaust system.

Industry Options for Improving Ventilation in Welding Environments

While the ventilation equipment chosen must meet the needs of the type of welding carried out as well as the location used, the best system ensures that the entire workshop, factory floor, or industrial warehouse is properly ventilated.

General Mechanical Ventilation Systems
Welding operations pollute the air. The warm, contaminated air rises and then sinks when it cools. Traditional push/pull, duct-type ventilation systems literally pull the polluted air out of the workshop via pipes and push clean air back, also via pipes (Figure 1). This type of system works reasonably well if smoke and dust levels are low, but it has obvious shortcomings, including the fact that it relies on a circular flow of air, and inevitably some dust and fumes mix in with the air that has been purified.

A recent development is a freestanding air tower that uses principles of displacement flow to provide the best possible full-room ventilation. It works in a similar but much more sophisticated way than the traditional push/pull system. Remember that warm, polluted air rises, and the tower sucks this contaminated air in from the top through its 360-degree lamella or gills. A two-stage method automatically cleans the filter. Because the air is pushed out slowly, without any turbulence, the possibility of dust and fumes polluting this clean air is reduced. Additionally, dust that is not contaminated is collected into bins for easy disposal.

Freestanding air towers are suitable for all types of welding applications, and they work exceptionally well in large production areas and where local exhaust systems aren’t possible.

Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems
Local exhaust ventilation systems use a variety of welding fume exhausts as well as filtration units, many of which are mobile. Wall-mounted or large central units can be attached to highly efficient exhaust arms that filter the polluted air at the source.

The choice of a local exhaust system depends on a number of requirements. For instance, some are more suitable for frequent or continuous use than others, while some are better-suited for use at workstations that change frequently.

Features also vary. For instance, you might prefer a mobile filter that has an exhaust hood that rotates and swivels and doesn’t have to be adjusted frequently. Maybe an automated cleaning cycle is important to you, or you just want a self-cleaning filter incorporated in a unit that has automatic dust disposal. Some units are meant for welding environments where there isn’t much dust or smoke; others are designed to handle high levels of dust and smoke.

Central and freestanding filtration units also vary, although all are stationary. A central extraction unit designed for use with robots is a good choice for large welding workshops or where grinding is common. It has a filter that is cleaned automatically with rotating nozzles and compressed air and can be used with various exhaust arms if required.Another type, designed for use in smaller workshops, can be used at up to four workstations at one time and be connected to a central piping system.

All of these systems are OSHA-compliant.

It really is a no-brainer that those operating welding workshops and factories should use well-designed ventilation equipment to keep their employees (and themselves) safe and healthy. Ultimately, doing so helps ensure that workers perform better, which improves productivity, reduces costs, and increases profits.

S.O.R.T TOOL

SORT Your Way to a Safer Work Environment 

There is an endless amount of acronyms when talking about safety. The acronym S.O.R.T. is a tool that can help remind us to take steps to address hazards and create a safe work environment. S.O.R.T stands for Stop, Observe, Recognize, and Take Ownership.

  1. Stop- It is necessary to take time not only at the beginning of the work shift to evaluate both the work area and equipment for hazards, but also as conditions change. When we are rushed we miss the small details that matter. Always take the time before a task begins to evaluate the work task you are about to do. Anytime conditions change or things are not going as planned, stop work and evaluate what needs done to correct the situation.
  2. Observe- Take time to evaluate at the environment around you. How are weather conditions, lighting, and temperature at the work area? Are the needed personnel and tools in the work area ready to go?  Has all equipment been thoroughly inspected prior to starting the work task? Has all necessary paperwork such as SOPs, JSAs, or permits been reviewed and completed?
  3. Recognize- Once you have stopped and observed the work area what hazards do you see? Your ability to recognize hazards comes down to utilizing training, safety meetings, company policies, lessons learned, safety shares, and past experiences. Much time is spent in discussing and training everyone onsite to be able to recognize hazards in order to mitigate them and protect ourselves from injury.
  4. Take Ownership- Ownership is the most important part of the process. Once you recognize hazards or potential issues while on the job, own them. See through that they get properly corrected in a timely manner. It is easy to just walk past an issue and think that it is not your problem. In reality any hazard on the job is your problem. If someone else is hurt or there is property damage due to the hazard you recognized and walked past, it will have some sort of effect on you. Incidents affect a jobsite as a whole, and depending the severity, can have far reaching consequences for an entire company. There is also guilt you could feel due to an injury occurring to a coworker from a hazard you could have addressed. Taking ownership means more than just communicating the hazard to the other people in the work area. Stop work if necessary and get the right people involved to correctly address the hazard.

Summary

While these four steps are very basic, it is easy to skip some of them and just go through the motions due to complacency or time restrictions when at work. We often complete many of the same work tasks in the same way every day. This makes it easy to fall into a trap of having blinders on to hazards that could lead to an injury. Use the S.O.R.T. tool to remind yourself to take the time to really evaluate your work area for hazards and to take ownership of them.

Sort Your Way to a Safer Work Environment Safety Poster

Recognized Vs Unrecognized Hazards

There are many hazards in our workplaces and at home that can cause great harm if exposed to them. So much time, effort, and money is spent by companies to train their employees to be able to recognize hazards in an attempt to prevent injuries from occurring. While it is often thought that new employees of a company who may not understand the hazards of the job are most at risk for injury, a case can also be made for those experienced employees who have become complacent with the hazards of their work. A question to consider: Which are more dangerous- the hazards we recognize or the ones we do not?

The Dangers of Unrecognized Hazards

Unrecognized hazards create a huge risk for injury on the job. Failure to be able to recognize hazards can result in exposure to every employee in a work area where the hazard is present. A huge goal in return for the time spent discussing safety in the workplace is to improve employees’ abilities in hazard recognition. The thought process being, if employees are able to recognize hazards they can take action to protect themselves and others from them. That being said, it is important to consider those employees who have been on the job a long time and recognize the hazards of their work however may not take the necessary action in mitigating the hazards due to becoming complacent or comfortable with the risk associated with them.

Hasil gambar untuk hazards versusComplacency with the Recognized Hazards of Our Work

Workers in their positions for a long time understand the majority of the hazards of their work. Experienced workers have sat through countless hours of safety trainings and have many hours of on the job which allows them to recognize the hazards of their work. However, with this experience can also bring complacency towards taking risks for these workers. Those employees who have been on the job for a long time can be desensitized to the gravity of the hazards around them. Working around hazards for a long period of time without any negative consequences occurring can create a false sense of security which in turn can lead to an employee to be more willing to put themselves in the line of fire. This is often the case when time pressures or pressure for production, even if it is just self-imposed pressure, is present.