There is absolutely no argument that clean air is a legal requirement in every working environment. But does clean air really improve productivity and reduce employment costs?
The short answer is yes!
People cannot live a healthy lifestyle if air is polluted. But if they can breathe clean air, they can operate the way nature intended. Ultimately, productivity will be improved and employment costs reduced if the air is kept clean. If it remains polluted, workers will get sick and the negative impact on productivity could be extremely serious.
What Happens When We Breathe Polluted Air
While not everyone gets sick immediately, we know that breathing air that is polluted will put us at risk for a range of respiratory conditions from asthma and chronic respiratory disease to lung cancer. The worst part is that when we go into an environment where the air is polluted we don’t have a choice, we have to breathe in that air. Even if welders wear masks and other protective equipment they are at risk.
In a welding environment fumes contain particles of various types of metal oxide including copper, cadmium, aluminum, and chromium, all of which are hazardous. The various electrodes, flux, and different cleaning agents also contribute to air pollution in the welding environment.
While adverse health effects are not immediate, all welding fumes can have severe effects long term. Because most fume particles are tiny (smaller than one micrometer) they generally penetrate the respiratory tract going deep down. In some cases the result is fatal.
How to Protect Workers From Welding Fumes
In addition to personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and ventilators, local exhaust equipment is commonly used to remove fumes, dust, smoke, and all the pollutants associated with them. Local exhaust systems are widely used to extract fumes and other pollutants at source. But in some instances, workstations are too far apart for local exhaust systems to work efficiently. Instead, a different ventilation system will be needed. If so Kemper America’s CleanAir Tower is the answer.
Traditional systems work according to a push-pull mechanism that pulls polluted air through pipe work and then pushes clean air out. The problem is that a small amount of dust and welding fumes are inevitably mixed with the clean air.
Kemper’s CleanAir Tower ventilation system was designed to cope with work areas (including welding workshops) that have insufficient ventilation and where local exhaust systems aren’t feasible. The way it works involves a two-stage automatic filtration system. The warm polluted air is sucked into the tower at the top where it is filtered through 360-degree ventilation gills. The purified air sinks to the bottom of the tower where it is pushed out slowly into the breathing zone of the person welding. Much more efficient than traditional ventilation systems, it doesn’t use complicated pipe work or hoses. Furthermore, the filtration system is so effective there’s no danger of dangerous welding fumes and toxic nano-particles mixing with the clean air.
One of the most problematic issues is that a large number of welders worldwide have very limited knowledge of the hazards of welding fumes and risks that go with them. For this reason, employers have a responsibility to ensure that the air their employees breathe in while working is clean. They also have a responsibility to train and educate their employees. By doing this they will reduce employment and medical costs and productivity as a whole will improve.
Contact Kemper America to find out more about the CleanAir Tower and other welding ventilation systems the company produces. You can’t afford not to.