The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be continuing to run its Fabricated Metals inspection programme until at least March 2022 – are you confident your business is compliant with COSHH if an inspector calls?
HSE Inspectors are paying particular attention to exposure to metalworking fluids and welding fume – both of which can cause a number of occupational illnesses including respiratory and skin conditions. COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations 2002 require all employers to implement effective control measures to minimise hazards posed by airborne particles, including oil mist, dust and fume. Failure to adhere to COSHH regs can result in improvement notices being served which can lead to hefty fines if ignored.
Craig Woodward, Divisional Sales Director for Telford based oil mist extraction expert Filtermist Systems Limited, comments: “The HSE looks at a ‘hierarchy of controls’ when assessing if adequate measures are in place to protect workers from exposure to airborne oil mist and fume particles.
“It is widely recognised that the most effective control is to use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) which captures contaminated air at source – preventing it from escaping into the working environment. Despite COSHH regulations being introduced in 1989, we still see many companies that either don’t use LEV at all, or don’t think they need it on every machine tool. HSE’s inspections so far are inline with our experience which is why the current inspection programme has been extended into 2022.
“We realise that effective mist extraction is not the most exciting investment when compared to purchasing new machine tools, but it can lead to many benefits in its own right including increased productivity, support with recruiting and retaining a higher calibre of employee, lower cleaning bills and consistent component quality. All of this is on top of the main benefit which is protecting the most valuable asset all businesses have – their employees.”
Filtermist has manufactured its own range of compact, quiet and efficient LEV oil mist filters, which all come with a free five-year warranty, in the UK for over 50 years. All units installed for end-users also come with the first service as part of the package meaning customers can be confident their oil mist filter is performing as intended.
As well as its own brand of filters, Filtermist also supplies premium oil mist, smoke and fume filters from sister company Absolent AB. LEV systems can be stand-alone filter units or central systems designed to pick-up contaminated air from multiple extraction points for all types of airborne particulate – Filtermist supplies both. It also offers a comprehensive aftermarket service that includes routine and reactive maintenance, spares and COSHH compliant LEV testing.