When we talk about metalworking fluids, what comes to mind? Coolants! Exactly! Metalworking fluids are sometimes referred to as suds, coolants or soap. These fluids are used for lubrication and cooling purposes during the machining of metals; and also serve as a helper in carrying away metal debris like swarf and fine metal particles.
There are health risks that are associated to working with metalworking fluids – they are legitimate and serious hazards that one should not take lightly of. Metalworking fluids can affect you through continuous applications via jet, spray or hand dispenser.
Inhaling the mist, aerosol or its vapour during its application in machining operation is serious – exposure is dependent on the type of machining you are doing, your area if it is well-ventilated or not or is enclosed which have a higher risk.
Another form of contact is through the skin such as the arms or forearms if there are no appropriate precautions taken. Make sure that to prevent any skin contact you need to have some gloves, suit and during machining, make sure there are enough splashguards to protect you.
You need to also be aware that without any proper protection, metalworking fluids can enter your body through cuts and abrasions of your skin. Another point of entry would be through the mouth if you eat or drink in work areas, there is a big possibility of you ingesting it – most especially if you do not wash your hands before you eat or smoke.
A responsible metal worker needs to heed the warnings and is careful not to get exposed by certain hazardous materials such as these in their work place.