Total supports metalworking businesses with HSE compliance
09 January 2020
Total Lubricants is urging metalworking businesses to ensure they have the correct procedures in place for controlling exposure to mist and fumes in order to comply with regulatory requirements.
Since February 2019, the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has strengthened its enforcement expectations and stepped up its inspection program following new scientific evidence that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer, as well as limited evidence linking it to kidney cancer.
This builds on an inspection program the HSE introduced in 2017 which targeted manufacturing businesses where metal fabrication takes place in order to assess the methods of control of exposure to metalworking fluids.
The HSE identified a potential risk of serious respiratory diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cancer and asthma, to those exposed to metalworking fluids, as well as the substances being hazardous to the skin and eyes.
Enforceable by law under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002, business owners have a duty of care to ensure the risks from exposure to the mist and fumes produced from oil and metalworking fluids in various applications is properly managed.
Businesses must evaluate the protection they currently offer any employees involved in welding activities to ensure they are compliant with the updated HSE expectations.
The HSE states businesses should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from welding activities. Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control the risk from residual fume.
There are many variations of metalworking fluid available in the market to suit a raft of different manufacturing applications and processes and they are usually either neat or soluble.
Total Lubricants introduced FOLIA to the UK market in 2019. Based on renewable raw materials in the form of a biopolymer, and free from oils and solvents of any kind, FOLIA offers extraordinary performance and versatility coupled with industry-leading health, safety and environmental benefits.
It contains fewer hazardous components than conventional metalworking fluids, and is formaldehyde and boron free, odour free, creates no fumes due to its high cooling power and does not cause dermatitis. As testament to FOLIA’s health benefits, its packaging carries no health hazard labels.
Peter Allen, metalworking technical sales manager at Total Industrial Lubricants, says: “There are two issues here which the HSE is taking very seriously. The first is the health effects of exposure to the mist created by metalworking fluids during manufacturing processes and the second is workers’ exposure to welding fumes.
“Although FOLIA is not directly used in the welding process, if the metal parts have been cut/processed with a conventional metalworking fluid prior to welding, then the fumes emitted during welding can be hazardous. Using FOLIA for all metalworking applications prior to welding can therefore help to eradicate the problem.
“We are finding that larger businesses are better prepared to meet HSE expectations than some smaller organisations which, for example, may not have a dedicated health and safety manager.
“Because it produces no fumes, FOLIA goes above and beyond the required health and safety standards helping to mitigate some of the HSE challenges that fall under the responsibility of the manufacturer in terms of their obligation to manage workers’ exposure to harmful substances.”
FOLIA is a multi-purpose metalworking fluid suitable for a range of applications including turning, broaching, tapping, drilling, sawing and grinding, across sectors including automotive, aerospace, fasteners, pharmaceutical and precision parts.
Total is committed to health and safety and can provide technical support on best practice procedures and training to help ensure customers are operating safely, compliantly and in line with industry regulations.
For further information, visit: www.total.co.uk.