People working in manufacturing facilities (metalworking, milling, and machining) that use oil-based cutting fluids are exposed to the adverse health effects of oil mist. Machines used for production applications, such as screw machines and machining centers, centreless grinders, and CNC machines, creates fine oil mist, which contains undisclosed additives that are harmful to human health. Ensuring an oil mist-free environment is highly crucial to safety and cleanliness in the workplace.
Oil mist is fine airborne droplet particles that measure above one micron in size and can be the result of emulsions or oil smoke. Emulsions are used as coolant or lubricant during machining of ceramic or metallic materials, or to aid in chip removal. They usually consist of 90 to 95 percent water, with the rest of its composition being soluble chemicals. Mineral oil-based metalworking fluids combine with water or oil to produce oil smoke, whose droplets measures below one micron in size. Oil mist from emulsions and oil smoke are equally unhealthy. Emulsions can pass into a worker’s nose and windpipe and can be inhaled or swallowed, while oil smoke can reach into the lungs.
Exposure to oil mists can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. Oil mist can also coat the work environment creating an oily, slippery surface. Slippery floors, tools, and controls can be considered safety risks that could potentially lead to a variety of work-related accidents.
Prolonged and repeated exposure to oil mist can be a health risk. To protect workers’ health and wellbeing, a facility should ensure that there is an efficient ventilation system installed. With millions of people from around the world working in manufacturing and industrial facilities, it is vital to reduce, if not prevent, exposure to the dangers of oil mist.
The following are some of the most common health problems associated with exposure to a large concentration of oil mist or oil smoke:
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also added to be wary of the following symptoms:
People working in manufacturing and industrial facilities are exposed to oil mist in three ways: skin exposure, aerial exposure, and ingestion. However, the skin is the most frequent route of exposure. Occupational health experts claimed that skin exposure causes more than three-quarters of all occupational disease. While exposure to oil mist alone can be a danger to the health, it becomes more hazardous when other foreign materials and chemicals contaminate the suspended oil.
Although oil mist suspended in the air can be invisible, evident signs of oil mist can be seen on the floor and wall surfaces, lights, and on the machinery. It also has an easily identifiable odour.
NIOSH reported that employees working close to a machine that uses oil fluids or in facilities with inadequate ventilation systems have higher chances of exposure to metalworking mist or aerosols. Additionally, failure to maintain machinery regularly can also increase the risk of oil mist exposure.
This is why OSHA has recommended that facilities implement a comprehensive metalworking fluid system management program, which includes regular monitoring and recording of metalworking fluids, engineering controls for oil mist, and training and educating employees about the hazards associated with oil mist exposure.
Other effective ways to reduce oil mist exposure:
If you own a manufacturing or industrial business, the health of your employees should be among your top priorities. It may be a common perception that factories are dirty and unhealthy places to work, but there are many things you can do to protect the health of your workers. Getting an oil mist collector is one of the most effective ways to ensure an oil mist free working environment. The benefits of using an oil mist collector include:
AMT Machine Tools Ltd. offers the oil mist collector devices that effectively eliminates oil mist, coolant mist, fumes and stream in manufacturing and industrial operations to make your facility a safe and clean place to work. For quality and efficient oil mist collector systems, call us now at (416) 675-7760.