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Welders and the risk of toxic fume exposure

South Carolina workers who perform fusion welding may risk exposure to harmful gas byproducts produced by welding smoke. OSHA cautions workers that metals such as aluminum, beryllium, lead and manganese can produce harmful gases that lead to both short- and long-term health issues. Welding fumes are particularly harmful when inhaled due to direct exposure.

Short-term welding gas exposure can cause nausea, nose and throat irritation and other unpleasant side effects. Prolonged exposure can lead to lung cancer, urinary tract cancer, kidney damage and nervous system issues. Helium and carbon dioxide gases can cause workers to suffocate due to exposure. The risk of suffocation is elevated when welding in an enclosed area without proper ventilation.

OSHA has stated that welders can reduce the risk of exposure to harmful welding gases and fumes by keeping a clean work surface to prevent the build up of toxic substances. Workers should also remain upwind of welding fumes when they are welding out in the open and always practice proper ventilation procedures. Exhaust pipes should be kept away from other welders in the area, and workers should never work in confined areas without ventilation. Protective equipment is helpful for reducing exposure to manageable levels, but workers should follow all OSHA guidelines for maximum exposure prevention.

Workers' compensation benefits may cover diseases resulting from long-term exposure to welding fumes. However, unlike the case of an injury accident, the connection between an illness and a workplace environment may be more tenuous and difficult to prove. As a result, an employer may be more prone to deny or dispute such a claim, which is why it may be advisable for an ill worker to have the assistance of counsel throughout the process.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
115 Broadus Ave.
Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
Phone: 864-990-0226
Fax: 864-242-1566
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