If you work in or around construction, there is a high chance you are being exposed to potential fumes and toxic substances from the regular use of machinery. Fumes are one of the major health concerns and safety issues that construction site workers face today.
Inhaling dangerous fumes raises safety issues that could eventually lead to heart disease, lung disease, brain and nerve damage, and decreased fertility. Some more flammable gases, like welding fumes, have been classified as carcinogenic, meaning they can result in tumours in the bladder, kidneys, and lungs.
Here we will discuss common construction jobs that should be utilising a fume extractor, as well as some of the benefits of fume control at a job site.
One of the most significant industries and essential to infrastructure is welding. The welding industry is expanding at a rate of about 6% annually. In terms of health risks, it’s also one of the riskiest professions to work in. The effects of being exposed to deadly welding fumes without any means of ventilation for long periods have been established.
Welding can be hazardous because of the glaring lights, fumes, extreme heat, and loud noises. The type of welding being done and the safety measures taken will determine how serious these risks are. The riskiest of them all is working in an environment without a fume control extraction system.
Why are welding fumes harmful?
Knowing that metals are burned during the welding process will help you understand why welding fumes are so dangerous. Both large and small particles are released into the air as the metals burn and are welded into place. Specifically. The smaller the particles being produced and released into the air during welding, the more hazardous it is.
These tiny particles are known as fumes, and contain a hazardous mixture of fluorides, metal oxides, and silicates. When inhaling welding fumes, a worker is also inhaling small pieces of the material being welded as well as the electrode that is being used.
Signs and Symptoms of Welding Fume Exposure
One of the impending risks of continuing to breathe in toxins is that the body begins to show warning signs after inhaling these toxic gases. These warnings serve as a reminder to welders to find a way to control welding fumes in order to prevent symptoms from getting worse. Metal fume fever is an illustration of a symptom that develops after breathing in zinc fumes from welding galvanised metal. Stomach pains, night sweats, and chills are a few of the signs of fume metal fever. Others frequently report having headaches or having trouble breathing.
A relatively un-thought of process, but one of significant risk, the smell of drying paint is a clear signal that the fumes associated are not great for your health. As most indoor painting is usually in a confined area, no fume control coupled with lack of ventilation can cause serious risks to the worker’s health.
Why are painting fumes harmful?
Paints contain chemicals that are released during the drying process, known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. Initially the majority of VOCs leave the paint as the wall dries, but some can be present years afterwards which presents a longer term risk.
There are several reasons why VOCs are harmful. A lot of VOCs are known carcinogens, to start with. Chemicals that have been linked to cancer include benzene, methylene chloride, and others and can be found in a typical tin of paint.
Signs and Symptoms of VOC Exposure
Like with other pollutants, exposure level and exposure duration will both have an impact on how much and what kind of health effects there are. Following exposure to certain organics, some people have reported the following immediate symptoms among others:
- Eye and respiratory tract irritation
- Visual disorders and memory impairment
What are the benefits of utilising a fume extractor?
Fume Extractors are designed to be able to trap and safely filter all types of smoke, gases and fumes from a working environment, including abrasive fumes and gases, flammable fumes and gases, toxic fumes and gases, solvents and hot works.
Healthier and Safer Working Environment
Most construction and industrial sites produce hazardous fumes. Each working process has its share of fumes, and the danger of the fumes can be fatal if not handled properly. Having the correct fume extraction tools installed in working environments helps ensure that all the fumes are extracted away from humans faster before they can cause bodily harm to workers. The smaller the fume particles, the more harmful they are to the human body. It is for this reason fume extractors are critical to any working task that creates fumes and gases in the construction industry.
Less Absenteeism At Work
A healthy workforce and lower absenteeism are directly related to a safe and healthy workplace. Production will increase in a company with lower absenteeism, which is crucial for any business.
Motivated and Energetic Workforce
An effective fume extraction system creates a safe and healthy working environment that inspires employees to return to their jobs quickly and with little to no risk of developing chronic illnesses.
The advantages of fume extraction systems at a workplace extend beyond just the advantages to the workers; they also benefit the employer. In addition to being less likely to get sick, workers in a safe and healthy environment will also be more energised while at work. Compared to workers who are concerned about the toxins in their workplace, these employees will be more attentive at work. Additionally, workers will typically have more self-confidence at work, which will have a positive impact.
Our Fume Control offers a comprehensive range of solutions, such as fume extractors, fume filters, and ventilation units, that are designed to capture and filter dangerous airborne particles produced during various construction processes such as welding, painting, soldering, and even laser cutting.