Welding Fumes and Prevention of Exposure
WELDING FUMES AND ASSOCIATED ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFEY ISSUES IN NEPAL
Currently about 2000 Metal Plating Workshops are being registered and in operation throughout the country in Nepal, created about 20,000 jobs and benefitting around 20,00,00 depending family members.
Welding fumes that are generated by the manual metal arc or oxy-acetylene welding of iron, mild steel, or aluminum) coming from the welding rod/electrodes they used were other major health concerned among the workers. It does not only impact the workers’ health but resulting great environmental pollution load to the surrounding area and causing damage to the community health too.
Eye, Nose and Throat (ENT) irritation and respiratory tract infection are the major health implications and surrounding environmental pollution etc. are the major problems. Prolonged exposure to welding fume may cause lung damage and various types of cancer, including lung, larynx and urinary tract. Health effects from certain fumes may include metal fume fever, stomach ulcers, kidney damage and nervous system damage. Prolonged exposure to manganese fume can cause Parkinson’s–like symptoms. Gases such as helium, argon, and carbon dioxide displace oxygen in the air and can lead to suffocation, particularly when welding in confined or enclosed spaces. Carbon monoxide gas can form, posing a serious asphyxiation hazard are the direct observable implications out of using different kinds of welding rods. These workers need to be protected from its ongoing occupational exposure of toxic fumes coming from welding rods. In fact, there is neither any safe exposure limit being adopted by the Government of Nepal nor any standards specification of the welding rod has been enacted. This research based proposed project aimed at generating new data on the personal exposure of the workers by measuring the toxic fumes by personal samplers as well as test their respiratory vitality through use of Spirometer with the help of medical doctors coupled with some health-related questionnaire survey with the metal workers to know their perception about the health and environmental impact of welding fumes. This gives clear indication of the level of health damage required to raise awareness among all metal welders/fabricators and do the policy advocacy for the improvement of their health through having exposure limit and standards of welding rods in place.
Welding Fumes and Prevention Measure related briefing paper can download from the link belos.