Your company must comply. HSE is coming. Take action now to avoid penalties.
Metalworking inspections have commenced, spanning from October to March 2024.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will conduct assessments at manufacturing establishments employing metalworking fluids or coolants in their machining procedures.
Inspectors will emphasize employers' responsibilities in safeguarding workers against exposure to fluids or mists generated by computer numerical control (CNC) machines. They will also assess the implementation of regular health check protocols.
Non-compliance in three key areas, notably among smaller manufacturing companies, includes the absence of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV), irregular fluid quality evaluations, and inadequate provision of routine health assessments for lung and skin conditions. Businesses must be prepared for these inspections.
Under COSHH regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002), metalworking fluid is classified as hazardous. Exposure to these fluids can result in lung and skin damage through inhalation or direct contact with unprotected skin, especially on the hands, forearms, and face. Inhaling mist generated during machining processes can lead to occupational diseases like occupational asthma and occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
By installing LEV systems on all CNC machines, you can effectively reduce the exposure to harmful mist and create a safer and healthier work environment. This simple and constructive step will protect your employees from potential health hazards.
Regular assessments of fluid quality are essential, focusing on factors such as concentration, pH levels, bacteria presence, and contaminants. Fluid systems are susceptible to contamination by harmful bacteria and necessitate consistent monitoring.
When exposure to fluid or mist occurs, it is mandatory to conduct health surveillance, even with preventive controls in place. Engaging an occupational health professional is mandatory, and employees should be encouraged to report any health symptoms promptly. Compliance with these measures is crucial to ensuring a safe working environment and adhering to legal obligations.