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Karen is a welder. During a working day she can be welding for most of that day. She always wears the PPE that is assigned to her (wielding helmet, ear plugs). You are to choose and identify ONE hazard that is a chemical or biological hazard.

You will be required to


•Identify all potential hazards in this case study.
•Identify the hazard that the report will focus on including the class of hazard that it is.
•Explain what the routes of exposure are and the states of matter (if relevant) that the hazard occurs as.
•Explain why the hazard presents a risk to workers’ health. This section must be justified using the literature such as legislation, texts and journal articles. You may include information about the toxicology of the chemicals, exposure, acute and chronic health effects as well as the health effects to workers and to industry as a whole.
•Describe the different ways that the hazard would be monitored and analysed. This must be related to the case study given and include information about the standard methodology that is used for both the monitoring techniques and comparison of the findings against a benchmark or standard. You must include information about how the sampling and analysis would actually be carried out for each hazard.
•Describe the relevant Legislation, Codes and Standards which apply to this hazard and the issues involved with meeting these requirements.

Gases and Fumes in Welding

Welding is a process of fitting two metals together through heating the metal surface to a point of melting with an electric arc, blowpipe, or using other means and uniting them by heat, pressure or both. There are different a number of different welding methods, that is, Arc Welding Gas Metal Arc Welding, , Oxy-Acetylene Welding and Cutting, Tungsten Inert Gas (Budhathoki, 2014). Welding processes can be broken down into two categories, pressure welding, and fusion welding. Welding involves activities such as brazing and soldering, cutting, grinding, smoldering, shielding, thawing pipes, welding and work environments such as confined spaces, dealing with combustible materials, flammable materials and hot works. This activity presents serious hazards and risks to a welder if they are not controlled properly and a welder is exposed to them (Glassford, 2018). The following are hazards present in welding work activity with their route courses.

Gases and Fumes. This is generally welding smoke, that is a mixture of very fine particles usually below 1-7 μm; from oxidation and sublimation of molten metal, e.g. lead, selenium, chromium, cobalt, nickel, arsenic, asbestos, manganese, silica, nitrogen oxides, fluorine compounds acrolein, cadmium, beryllium, iron, phosgene, carbon monoxide, ozone, copper and zinc. This can cause metal fume fever, irritation of the eye, nose, throat, lung diseases, cancer of the larynx.  The route causes of these fumes and gases are,

Base material that is welded or filter material being used.

Shielding gases supplied from cylinders.

Consumables and process used.

Paints and coatings on the metal welded, or the coatings covering the electrode.

Air contaminants such as vapors from degreasers and cleaners.

The intense heat of welding causes burns, eye injuries, heat stroke and heat stress. The route cause of these hazards is when a welder is exposed to hot slag, sparks, metal chips or hot electrodes of metals. 

Ultraviolet (UV), Visible Light and Infrared Radiation. The intense light due to arc welding causes damage to the retina of the eye, Ultraviolet light causes welder’s flash, skin burns that generally come from arc. The route cause for these hazards is from arc welding.


Noise is unnecessary sound beyond required measurement that is 84dB. This can cause a permanent hearing loss when exposed to loud noise, hypertension, tinnitus, sleep disturbances, high-stress levels, increases blood pressure, which contributes to heart diseases. The route causes for this hazard in welding are the process of welding and activities undertaken such as soldering, cutting and grinding.

Hazards of Heat in Welding

Musculoskeletal Injuries. This includes shoulder pains, back injuries, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee joint disease, white finger and reduced muscle strength. The route cause of these hazards is due to work postures such as,

Working in one position for extended periods.

Heavy lifting of equipment,

Welding overhead

Vibrations

Electrical hazards. Even if welding uses low voltage, there is a risk of electric shock that causes brain damage, burns, heart diseases and when exposed to significant shock (10000 mA) can lead to cardiac arrest and probably death. The route cause for this is due to environmental conditions of a welder such as cramped spaces, wet conditions or exposed live wires.

Fires and Explosions. Sparks and intense heat produced during welding may cause a fire that can burn the welder or cause facility damages. The route cause for this hazard is welding flame, extreme heat, and sparks produced by welding, a worker wearing clothing covered in oil or grease.

Trips and falls. This can cause an injury to a welder such as breaking his arm or leg, or falling object that night cut/injure a welder. The route cause for this is unclear areas of equipment, cables, hoses, machines and a worker not using safety rails or lines.

Gases and fumes are generally welding smoke that is assortment of very fine elements usually below 1-7μm; from oxidation and sublimation of molten metal used in welding work like, lead, cadmium, ozone, iron, nickel, beryllium, asbestos, carbon monoxide, silica, copper, fluorine compounds acrolein, selenium, arsenic, cobalt, phosgene, manganese, chromium, nitrogen oxides and zinc which are enormously dangerous to the health of a worker (Alif et al., 2016, p.1). This hazard is classified under chemical hazard as it occurs in the form a chemical in its state.

This hazard is present in welding practices for instance, Plasma Arc Welding (PAW), Air Carbon Arc Processes (ACAP), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Air Carbon Arc Cutting (ACAC), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Submerged Arc Welding (SAW), Oxyfuel Gas Welding (OGW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and Air Carbon Arc Gouging (ACAG), and Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), (Bjerg 2015, p. 605). The route causes of this hazard include;

Base material that is welded or filter material being used in the welding process.

Shielding gases supplied from cylinders.

Consumables and process used.

Paints and coatings on the metal welded, or the layers covering the electrode.

Air contaminants such as vapors from degreasers and cleaners.

Ultraviolet, Visible Light and Infrared Radiation Hazards in Welding

Worker’s health effects due to exposure to gases and fumes may vary since they comprise numerous different elements that are dangerous. These substances can affect some part of the body such as skin, heart, kidney, and central nervous system. Exposure to fumes and gases may have acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) effects to a worker, (Ziarati 2015, p. 116).

When a worker is exposed to metallic fumes like copper, magnesium, zinc and copper oxide, can lead to metal fever, which has signs of chills, chest soreness, thirst, wheezing, nausea, fatigue, muscle ache, metallic taste in the mouth and fever, (Doney, 2017). A worker may suffer from irritation of the eyes, chest, nose, respiratory tract and cause coughing, bronchitis, pulmonary edema, pneumonia, wheezing and shortness of breath, (Schyllert et al., 2016, p. 665). These fumes and gases also cause gastrointestinal effects like cramps, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting. Ozone generated in GMAW can cause nose and throat irritation and inflammation of respiratory tract. Phosgene gas leads to chills, dizziness, and cough. Cadmium can be fatal in a shorter time.

Studies of welders indicate that they have a higher risk of cancer of the larynx, lung cancer and urinary tract due to carcinogenic fumes and gases from nickel, beryllium, cadmium, arsenic, and chromium, (Dharmages et al., 2016). They may also suffer from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, silicosis, pneumonia, pneumoconiosis, siderosis and decreased lung capacity. Welders are at risk of heart diseases, skin diseases, gastroduodenitis, chronic gastritis, ulcers and kidney damage due to exposure to fumes and gases from chromium and nickel, (Cullina et al., 2017, p. 450). Studies also show that welders exposed to fumes and gases such as nitrous gases and ozone cause an increase in miscarriages or delayed conception.

 Monitoring is used in evaluating a hazard and assessing its risks to determine a valid control measure. Monitoring gases and fumes can be periodic or continuous, which is the qualitative or quantitative assessment of air contaminants. Sampling techniques like personal sampling, area sampling, source sampling should be used to obtained samples. Sampling methodology such as active, Real-time monitoring and biological sampling should be used in monitoring the gases and fumes in a workplace depending on terms such as costs and practicability, (Popovi? 2014, pp. 509-516).  Fumes and gases may be analyzed to get specific toxic constituents, e.g., chromium (IV), manganese and nickel using standardized methods such as Analytical methodologies, that is, chromatographic techniques, (gas-liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, ion chromatography), (Tang 2015, p. 290).

Noise Hazards in Welding


In the case of heat hazards, qualitative heat measurements shall be used whereby the locations comprises of both with and without heat exposure including indoor locations.  Measurements shall be made during the hottest part of the day, (10:00 AM – 14:30 PM) and for the sake of heat stress, wet bulb globe temperature shall be used, (Ellingsen et al., 2017, p. 104). Lascar data logger shall be used for continuous heat monitoring. The done analysis shall be done through Microsoft Excel 2016 and R-statistical software. Ultraviolet, visible light and infrared radiations shall be monitored using wavelength manometers. Employees exposed to this hazard shall also undergo medical surveillance, and the data shall be analyzed in laboratories, while the measurements taken from the manometer shall be compared against the standardized values.

Noise hazards shall be monitored using an 8-hour work shift weighted against 85dB. Noise dosimeters shall be used in calculating the time-weighted average.   The analysis of the data obtained through TWA criteria whereby 85dB is the recommended exposure of an employee per 8-hour tests, (Bjerg et al., 2015, p. 606). Musculoskeletal Injuries shall be monitored through self-reports, observational methods, and direct measurements. Data obtained shall be analyzed through electronic goniometry, body posture scanning systems, force measurements and cyber glove.

Electrical hazard monitoring and analyzed using HAZOP based plan safety model and the results shall be taken to safety engineering lab to determine the electric hazard trend (Van et al., 2015, pp. 635-639). Fire hazards and explosions, the fire parameters such as flashpoints vapor pressure and calorific value should be observed through a risk assessment, then analyzing the risk factors taking account of existing precautions. Lastly, for fall hazards, monitoring can be achieved by use of risk management program and analysis of any risk factor that contributes to trips and falls hazards.

The legal requirement to control the exposure of workers to dangerous substances such as fumes and gases is contained in Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in various sections (WorkSafe Queensland, 2018). WHS Act Section 17 provides for managing risks where a duty is obligated to a person to guarantee health and safety. WHS Act Section 18 provides for reasonable practices to ensure health and safety. WHS Regulation Section 32-38 provides for duties of a duty holder to manage risks in the workplace. Section 46 of WHS Act provides for a person undertaking business must consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with other duty holders. WHS Act Section 47-48 provides for consultation of workers in decision making on health and safety. WHS Act Section 19 and WHS Regulation 39 indicates that a person undertaking a business must guarantee to provide information, instruction, supervision, and training that is suitable and adequate to protect employees. WHS Act section 351 indicates that a person undertaking business should manage risks allied with using, handling and storing harmful chemicals (air contaminants). WHS Regulation Section 49 provides for exposure standards for airborne contaminants. WHS Regulation Section 50 provides for monitoring airborne contaminants levels by a person conducting a business. WHS Regulation Section 395 indicates that a person undertaking business must provide information about lead processes to workers. WHS Regulation Section 44 provides for personal protective equipment in minimizing risk to health and safety. WHS Regulation Section 368 provides for health and monitoring of a worker supplied by a person undertaking business. WHS Regulation Section 38 and 352 provides for a person conducting business to review control measures. Failure to comply with these rules and regulations, division 5 of the WHS Act 2011 provides for offenses and penalties.

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Welding

Apart from Work Health and Safety Act 2011, there are also codes of practice that help in the management of this hazard, (WorkSafe Queensland, 2018). Welding processes code of practice 2013 that provides guidelines in welding work processes, How to manage work health and safety risk code of practice 2011 that provides instructions in the management of workplace hazards, managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace code of practice 2013 that gives directions in control of hazards related to chemicals.

To efficiently control hazards, one should consider the hierarchy of controls, (Albuquerque 2015, p. 298).

MOST APPROPRIATE              Elimination

Substitution       

Isolation

Engineering Controls

Administrative Controls

LEAST APPROPRIATE      Persona Protective Equipment

Substitution- substitute organic binder or lithium silicate with sodium or potassium silicates to reduce chromium (VI) content of fumes. Use of a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide instead of carbon dioxide alone thus decreasing fume formation by 20 percent. Add nitric acid to shielding gas to minimize ozone when welding aluminum in GMAW.

Engineering Controls- Use of local exhaust ventilation and two novel methods to reduce ozone. General ventilation systems to control minor emissions of low toxicity. Dilution ventilation to dilute the concentration of with an adequate capacity of clean air to decrease the level of impurity.

Administrative controls- Provision of education and training to employees. Carrying out health surveillance to assess the health status of work. Provision of first aid boxes in the workplaces. Providing exposure standards for welding fumes and gases. Ensuring safe work practices such as not welding on painted or coated parts, removal of rusts and paints on metals, segregation of degreasing metals, positioning a welder far from the source of fumes and promotion of no smoking policy.

Personal protective equipment- Respirators must be specific to a hazard, fitted, cleaned, stored and maintained accordingly. Consider the composition of fumes and gases when selecting respirators. Workers must be trained on how to use the respirators.

References

Albuquerque, P.C., Gomes, J.F., Pereira, C.A. and Miranda, R.M., 2015. Assessment and control of nanoparticles exposure in welding operations by use of a Control Banding Tool. Journal of Cleaner Production, 89, pp.296-300.

Alif, S.M., Dharmage, S.C., Benke, G., Dennekamp, M., Burgess, J., Perret, J.L., Lodge, C.J., Morrison, S., Johns, D.P., Giles, G.G. and Thomas, P.S., 2016. B24 OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE: Lifetime Occupational Exposure To Vapor, Gases/fumes, Dust And Risk Of COPD At 45 Years: The Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (tahs). American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 193, p.1.

Electrical Hazards in Welding

Bjerg, A., Rönmark, E.P., Hagstad, S., Eriksson, J., Andersson, M., Wennergren, G., Toren, K. and Ekerljung, L., 2015. Gas, dust, and fumes exposure is associated with mite sensitization and with asthma in mite?sensitized adults. Allergy, 70(5), pp.604-607.

Budhathoki, S.S., Singh, S.B., Sagtani, R.A., Niraula, S.R. and Pokharel, P.K., 2014. Awareness of occupational hazards and use of safety measures among welders: a cross-sectional study from eastern Nepal. BMJ open, 4(6), p.e004646.

Cullinan, P., Muñoz, X., Suojalehto, H., Agius, R., Jindal, S., Sigsgaard, T., Blomberg, A., Charpin, D., Annesi-Maesano, I., Gulati, M. and Kim, Y., 2017. Occupational lung diseases: from old and novel exposures to effective preventive strategies. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 5(5), pp.445-455.

Dharmage, S.C., Benke, G., Dennekamp, M., Burgess, J., Perret, J.L., Lodge, C.J., Morrison, S., Johns, D.P., Alif, G.G.S.M., Giles, P.S. and Vermeulen, R., 2016. Lifetime Occupational exposure to Vapor, gases/Fumes, dust and risk of COPD at 45 years: the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS). Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 193, p.A2989.

Doney, B.C., 2017. Occupational Exposure to Vapor-Gas, Dust, and Fumes in a Cohort of Rural Adults in Iowa Compared with a Cohort of Urban Adults. MMWR. Surveillance Summaries, 66.

Ellingsen, D.G., Chashchin, M., Berlinger, B., Fedorov, V., Chashchin, V. and Thomassen, Y., 2017. Biological monitoring of welders’ exposure to chromium, molybdenum, tungsten and vanadium. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 41, pp.99-106.

Glassford, E. and Burr, G., 2018. Evaluating optical hazards from plasma arc cutting. Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene, 15(1), pp.D1-D7.

Popovi?, O., Proki?-Cvetkovi?, R., Burzi?, M., Luki?, U. and Belji?, B., 2014. Fume and gas emission during arc welding: Hazards and recommendation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 37, pp.509-516.

Schyllert, C., Rönmark, E., Andersson, M., Hedlund, U., Lundbäck, B., Hedman, L. and Lindberg, A., 2016. Occupational exposure to chemicals drives the increased risk of asthma and rhinitis observed for exposure to vapours, gas, dust and fumes: a cross-sectional population-based study. Occup Environ Med, 73(10), pp.663-669.

Tang, Z., Liu, Y. and Duan, Y., 2015. Breathe analysis: technical developments and challenges in the monitoring of human exposure to volatile organic compounds. Journal of Chromatography B, 1002, pp.285-299.

Van der Mark, M., Vermeulen, R., Nijssen, P.C., Mulleners, W.M., Sas, A.M., van Laar, T., Huss, A. and Kromhout, H., 2015. Occupational exposure to solvents, metals and welding fumes and risk of Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism & related disorders, 21(6), pp.635-639.

WorkSafe Queensland., 2018. Codes of practice. [online] Available at: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/laws-and-compliance/workplace-health-and-safety-laws/laws-and-legislation/codes-of-practice [Accessed 17 Apr. 2018].

WorkSafe Queensland., 2018. Work Health and Safety Act 2011. [online] Available at: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/laws-and-compliance/workplace-health-and-safety-laws/laws-and-legislation/work-health-and-safety-act-2011 [Accessed 17 Apr. 2018].

Ziarati, P. and Nazif, M., 2015. Decreasing bio-toxicity of fume particles produced in welding process by Aloe Vera L. Oriental Journal of Chemistry, 31(Special Issue 1 (2015)), pp.113-120.

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