Are you working safely with metalworking fluids?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is continuing to focus on reducing exposure to metalworking fluids (MWFs) as a key focus in its strategy to reduce occupational lung disease.

A recent webinar hosted by the Chemical Hazards Communication Society entitled 'Are you working safely with metalworking fluids' featured speakers from the HSE and United Kingdom Lubricants Association (UKLA) who discussed a range of control measures that employers should consider implementing to ensure exposure is minimised. As well as a range of respiratory diseases including occupational asthma, COPD and occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis), MWFs can also cause skin conditions including dermatitis. 

The HSE speaker advised that effective LEV (local exhaust ventilation) should be fitted to all CNC machines as the best way of ensuring that contaminated air is cleaned before it has a chance to escape into the workshop. Whilst it is not yet law that CNC machines must be fitted with LEV, COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations require employers to reduce airborne particles to levels 'ALARP' - As Low As Reasonably Practical, and LEV is widely recognised as the best way of achieving this.

Filtermist's range of local exhaust ventilation oil mist filters includes our own brand of centrifugal filters, static media filters from sister company Absolent AB and electrostatic filters from another Absolent Group company, Bristol T&G International GmbH. Follow this link to hear our Divisional Sales Director (Oil Mist), Craig Woodward, talking to MTD CNC about the different types of LEV system that Filtermist offers. 

Other control measures discussed during the webinar included swarf vacs, such as the KSV range from Filtermist brand Kerstar, which help to reduce the build up of swarf and coolant in and around machine tools. Filtermist is currently offering £150 OFF the Kerstar swarf vac range until the end of this year - contact to benefit from this offer whilst it's available.

Hand-held vacuums were mentioned as an alternative to blowing off machines and components using compressed air. Tramp oil skimmers were also highlighted for their role in helping to remove tramp oils which can act as a breeding ground for bacteria if left on the surface of the coolant sump. 

Contact our team by emailing or calling 01952 290500 to discuss specific products Filtermist offers to ensure your employees are protected from exposure to harmful metalworking fluid particles.

Useful resources

HSG258 - Controlling airborne contaminants at work - a guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)

HSE Metalworking Fluid Control COSHH Essentials Sheets

UKLA and HSE Good Practice Guide for Safe Handling and Disposal of Metalworking Fluids