Oil mists are a natural product of machining processes that need to be monitored and controlled. An overabundance of oil mist particles in a shop, warehouse, or manufacturing floor can bring health hazards. Exposure to these pollutants can cause various skin diseases, respiratory health issues, and in extreme cases, cancer.
How are oil mists formed? Oil mists are created when metalworking fluids (MWFs) are sprayed to metal components to lubricate them or maintain their coolness. MWFs are used in many machining processes like drilling, turning, milling, grinding, and finishing.
Manufacturing lubricants are classified into two categories:
Regardless of the type of fluid used, the application of any coolant will generate and emit fine mist particles in the air. This is the inevitable result when water and oil are mixed in the process. The emissions that result from this process are lumped into three categories:
These emissions might contain various additives like alkanolamines, colourants, dispersants, corrosion inhibitors, dyes, and anti-mist agents. Consistent exposure to these additives can pose a range of health concerns and create a hazardous work environment.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), the ingestion of or contact with MWFs may result in the following major health concerns:
Contact dermatitis is one of the skin conditions that can occur after constant exposure to synthetic, semi-synthetic, and soluble fluids. Tiny slivers of metals, also known as fines and swarfs, can worsen existing skin irritations. The chances of absorption through the skin are higher when a person has cuts or breaks in his skin. Fluids can also splash onto the skin during the cleaning and maintenance operations done on the machines.
Generally, the severity and the type of illness depend mainly on what MWF is applied, the mode of contamination to the fluid, and the duration and frequency of the person’s exposure to the MWF.
Canada has set numerous regulations in place that aim to protect workers from the health hazards caused by exposure to oil mists. The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations cites that employers shall develop and maintain a “procedure for the control of the concentration or level of the hazardous substance in the workplace.” It also suggests that procedures requiring the use of such substance shall be “limited to the quantity required for one work day” to minimize exposure to workers.
Other recommended control measures are the following:
When handling metalworking machines and MWFs, employees should be provided with PPE that give them thorough protection from chemicals and fluids, sharp-edged parts, metal particles, machine noise, and falling debris. Clothing that can resist chemicals is also necessary.
Make sure to wear clean work clothes. Minimize the risk of accidental ingestion by not eating, drinking, or smoking within the work area. Maintain cleanliness in the entire work area. Clean the machines thoroughly and change the MWF when needed. If you see oil on the floor, clean it up and locate the source to stop the leakage right away.
An efficient oil mist removal device is a perforated drum with a set of vanes which rotates at high speed. The oil mist is removed from the dirty air through coalescence, a process where droplets combine to form larger drops, making the removal of oil from the air more manageable. Once removed, the clean oil is pushed back to the machine, and the clean air is returned to the workplace.
The benefits of controlling oil mists include:
Good air quality in the workplace boosts employee health and productivity. All manufacturers have the opportunity to make their workplaces cleaner and healthier than before. An essential step toward that goal is to eliminate oil mist that can result in serious occupational illness.
When it comes to eliminating mist and smoke from your shop, warehouse, or manufacturing floor, you need the best and proven solution that is widely used by manufacturers all over the globe. That is why we carry Filtermist oil mist collectors, the finest collectors in the industry. With many models to choose from, Filtermist is the premier source for mist collectors.
Contact AMT Machine Tools now, or call 416-675-7760 for the finest selection of machine tools in the province. We are proud to serve all of Canada.