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Soldering produces a narrow but expanding directional rising plume of fume with a high concentration gradient making it a high strength source. The plume of fumes is highly variable and prone to disturbance by ambient air movements. Uncontrolled soldering causes high personal exposures in the breathing zone; this can be 20 – 50 times the S.T.E.L dependant on the soldering scenario. This can equate to exposures exceeding the 8-hour TWA W.E.L after only 15 minutes of soldering. General ventilation at 5 air changes per hour (ach) per hour was not sufficient to control personal exposures, but was capable of reducing background exposures within the test room.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are the government body responsible for the regulation and enforcement of work related risks to people in the work place. Dust & fume exposure is a key element of the COSHH 2002 (Control of Substances Hazard to Health) regulations setting out exposure limits, preventative guidelines and on going reductions of the contact between people and hazardous gas and particulates. Under COSHH, companies must take steps to prevent, control, maintain and monitor dust and fume exposure in the workplace, as laid out in regulation 9.

According to the HSE, around 13,000 workers in the UK die each year from historic work-related exposure to airborne contaminants at work leading to lung disease and various cancers. These figures are estimated to be attributed to past exposure, primarily to chemical and dust at work.

Equipment that draws pollutants from an operation or process in the working environment. Made up of an inlet like a hood, slit, arm, cabinet or booth. This will be located near to or close to the area of the substance release. All suchlike equipment needs to be connected by ducting and a fan to enable the movement of air. The removed air passed through a filter or is extracted to atmosphere away from the workplace. How Welding Supplies Direct can help ? WE will carry out a thorough tests in line with COSHH Regulation 9 as detailed in HSE Guide HSG258 Our levels of service can be tailored to your Companies needs. However, most clients choose to take advantage of by combining servicing with the LEV testing. Read extra info at Local Exhaust Ventilation LEV Testing.

Health and Safety ExecutivePage 11 of 111Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)Health and Safety Executive?If an employer is using a substance that could form an explosive atmosphere they must consider their responsibilities under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR),8 and the supplier of equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere their responsibilities under the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996.

Marian Vasilescu

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