Considering OSHA’s new three-part definition (1926.1202) of a “confined space” — which will be used to assess violations of the accumulation of toxic or flammable contaminates in a confined space — it is now more important than ever to have an extraction hood for welding done in shop.
The new definition addresses a risk of exposure levels spiking from welding, laser cutting and other heating tasks that produce metal fumes, gases and smoke.
“Awareness of the need for occupational safety is growing on all sides,” says Frederic Lanz, managing director at Kemper, a Germany-headquartered manufacturer of welding exhaust products. “Clean air is much more an issue in companies than it used to be. Virtually everyone in the industry knows nowadays that welding fumes are harmful. Today, welders are much more informed via social media or blogs. No one wants to inhale welding fumes voluntarily.”
Since joining Kemper, Lanz’s focus has been on improving the health of employees in shop. In addition to tightened restrictions in Germany, occupational safety requirements in Great Britain and France on how to carry out extraction “properly” have also been changed.
“Occupational safety is constantly increasing in relevance. Employers see the productivity of healthy welders as an argument for investing in effective extraction technology,” says Lanz. “Better air makes people less ill. In the long term, the health of our employees will be maintained. In the short term, occupational safety ensures a high level of employee satisfaction. And, at the end of the day, standardisation is also becoming ever more stringent.”