There are many health benefits with effective extraction of welding fumes. Short term benefits can be less headache and breathing issues. The workers are also less susceptible to develop cancer or other long-term health challenges.
Focus on regulations of health, safety and environment for welding has become a main topic in all aspects. And let`s face it, we absolutely need to put focus on these topics.
Welding fumes are carcinogenic and now classify to Risk Group 1
Recent studies and reports determine that welding fumes are carcinogenic and now classify to Risk Group 1 (International Agency for Research on Cancer – IARC). Risk Group 1 is the highest classification for cancer risks for humans, and welding smoke is therefore in the same risk category as radioactive substances such as Plutonium. Smoking and Chrome VI components also classify to Risk Group 1.
We can’t undermine the health, safety and environment aspects of welding no longer. Studies have shown that lung cancer is likely to occur more commonly for welders (approx. 44%) when compared to people who have not been exposed to a welder’s environment. (theage.com.au, 2014.)
New norms and regulations for work with hazardous substances – TRGS 528
Due to the new Risk 1 classification, revised norms and regulations for work with hazardous substances – TRGS 528 – are on the way. The new norms and regulations are highly relevant to welding processes and many other industrial processes which involve harzardous substances/pollutants.
Effective removal of fume pollutants as close to the source as possible
The solution with the highest health benefits is removal of fume pollutants as close to the source as possible. Doing so, in compliance with the new TRGS 528, the hazardous substances and particles are removed before they pollute the breathing zone of the worker. Furthermore, this solution also has a positive impact on the general environment and the health of other personnel at work. Effective removal of pullutants can also reduce the maintenance cost for machines and equipment in the same area.
The only way to achieve this is by high vacuum extraction, and the preferred order of extraction is welding guns with integrated extraction, extraction nozzles connected to the welding gun or an extraction nozzle close to the welding source.
High vacuum fume extraction is the way to go
The most effective fume removal methods have been determined by various tests in the new version of the TRGS 528. Tests show that fume guns and high vacuum fume extraction is the way to go. High vacuum extraction is in total the safest and most economic solution for extracting welding smoke.
Another advantage with a high vacuum solution is that it can be used for multiple tasks. Additionally to extraction of gases, smoke and fumes, it may extract particles from grinders, sanders and extract water. It may also be used for vacuum cleaning purposes.
Other extraction solutions are disadvantageous compared to high vacuum
Other extraction solutions are disadvantageous compared to high vacuum. Some solutions, such as low vacuum extraction, need much more air to work properly. Low vacuum extraction uses up to 10 times more air than fume guns and nozzles of a high vacuum system. Due to this, low vacuum represents more expensive solutions. This is because the extracted air needs to be replaced by new heated air from the outside via the general ventilation system. Another disadvantage is that low vacuum will not be able to collect the polluted air as effective as high vacuum before it reaches the worker’s breathing zone.
More information about Reglo Effex high vacuum extraction products can be found on www.reglo.no.