In this post, we are going to share a few tips for protecting the health of your workers by improving air quality at the workplace. Air quality in your workspace has a profound impact on employees mental and physical health. In a workplace, the indoor air affects an individuals wellbeing and ability to perform at work. Natural ventilation also can enhance the indoor air quality by reducing pollutants present indoors.
In many cases, controlling sources is also a more economically beneficial method of protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation, as increased ventilation may add energy costs. Often, the most effective method for improving indoor air quality is by eliminating single sources of contamination or by reducing emissions from them.
Carefully assess using ventilation to reduce indoor air pollutants in places that might have external sources such as smoke or trash near. Ventilation also helps to remove or dilute indoor air pollutants that are coming from sources inside the home.
Factories and industrial facilities monitor and control air quality in order to limit exposure of employees. In the context of a safety and health program, air monitoring is used to detect and quantify welding emissions. In certain situations, continual air monitoring may be required, where workers are welding in an enclosed area under specific conditions.
When used correctly, natural ventilation may sometimes help to regulate the indoor air temperature that can get too warm in homes with no air-conditioning or when blackouts or electrical outages restrict or render air-conditioning unusable. Serious health threats to workers are a major reason why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees metalworking plants, and, as the agency does for other industrial workplaces, regulates the indoor air quality.
The health hazards associated with welding and related processes stem from exposure to fumes and gases, heat, noise, radiation, as well as repetitive strain, which may result in musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs), such as strains and sprains. Welding and cutting operations pose specific hazards for welders, which, when not controlled appropriately, may cause temporary or permanent physical injuries, short- or long-term adverse health effects, discomfort, or even death. Fortunately, the toxic plume of metals can be controlled by proper working practices, good equipment, improved ventilation, and the use of proper respirators when necessary. Most air quality problems at metalworking facilities can be traced back to weld smoke and fumes, which differ in toxicity depending on the welding process, base metal, filler metal used, and the composition of welding slag and fumes.
Contracting with a provider to perform a professional air quality test is the best way to determine contaminants and to determine whether or not the air is above OSHAs Permitted Exposure Limits (PELs) for airborne contaminants.
Following the recommendations provided does not necessarily offer full protection for all situations or for all health hazards that can result from indoor air pollution. This course provides examples of breathing hazards from welding and other industries, describes various respiration protective equipment, and reviews the OSHA standards pertaining to safety with respect to air quality. Air monitoring and measuring related contaminants through individual and environmental sampling, biological monitoring, assessment of workplace with respect to physical and chemical hazards, and occupational health findings may be used to comprehensively assess a welders exposure status