The health and safety of today’s workforce is a critical issue in the modern workplace. New data and evolving technologies are making it easier than ever to help protect one’s well-being both now and in the future. Unfortunately, as creatures of habit, changing a lifetime of work habits is often easier said than done. Therefore, a willingness to embrace improved technology and work habits is critical for the sake of your health and safety.
Teaching proper work habits and safety techniques at the student level is an important first step in ensuring future generations will work safely and with minimal risk to their health.
At Mohawk College, founded in 1966 and located in Hamilton, Ontario, future welders are learning not only the finer points of their chosen trade, but the importance of safety and proper work habits.
As part of the certified welding programs offered at Mohawk College, students are learning to ply their trade with an emphasis on quality and safety, which includes using proper air filtration equipment such as Diversitech’s Downdraft Tables. These customized workstations feature built-in ventilation to capture and filter dangerous fumes, gases and smoke away from an operator’s breathing zone. Additionally, these downdraft tables also help to prevent contamination of the ambient work environment.
The reality is that welding gases, fumes and smoke can cause a multitude of long term health problems such as larynx, lung and urinary tract cancer1. The good news is, using proper air filtration equipment that removes these dangerous gases, fumes and smoke at the source can eliminate these health risks and potentially save lives.
If you’re considering a career in welding, make sure that a strong emphasis on health and safety is part of the curriculum when researching schools in your area that you may want to attend.
Depending on the type of materials you’re welding, additional safety precautions and equipment may be required to fully ensure safety. For example, if you are welding stainless or galvanized steel, you risk exposure to Hexavalant Chromium – a highly toxic and carcinogenic compound that requires additional precautions.
Among the health risks associated with Hexavalent Chromium2:
Recommended equipment to help eliminate the health risks associated with Hexavalant Chromium:
As technologies and best practices continue to evolve with an eye towards improved health and safety, staying up to date with proper weld fume control practices is of the utmost importance. Education is key.
Refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website for U.S. federal standards and rules related to welding, cutting and brazing. Should you like to learn more about the latest technologies and find out which solutions make the most sense for your specific circumstances, you can contact our team of experts to work with you to find a right-sized solution.
1 Source: OSHA Fact Sheet – Controlling Hazardous Fume and Gases during Welding
2 Source: OSHA Fact Sheet – Health Effects of Hexavalent Chromium