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» Back to listing Metalworking fluids assessment

7th September 2017

Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause irritation of the skin or dermatitis, occupational asthma, bronchitis, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, breathing difficulties or, rarely, a more serious lung disease called extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA), which can cause increasingly severe breathing difficulties in recurrent episodes, following repeated exposure.

Key control and risk reduction measures include:

• provide/ check and maintain exposure control measures, such as enclosures and local exhaust ventilation;
• check levels of bacterial contamination using dip slides, or other means of measuring the level of bacterial activity, in both metalworking and associated fluids and act on the readings obtained in line with your risk assessment;
• ensure that, as a minimum, a responsible person carries out the required health surveillance
• conduct asthma health checks
• refer anyone affected by exposure to a competent occupational health professional;
• take prompt action after any diagnosis of ill health to identify the likely cause and ensure it is prevented or adequately controlled; and
• keep workers informed of all findings.

You should carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment on the use amd maintenance of Metalworking fluids. The Health and Safety Executive have produced a self-assessment questionnaire to help you do this

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