Fusion welding and pressure welding processes both produce visible smoke and fumes that contain harmful metal fume and gas byproducts that can be hazardous to a welder’s health. Manganese oxide has gained so much attention as a hazardous element found in welding fumes that it has warranted a closer study of its side effects.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has revised previous opinion of what the safe level of manganese ingestion is considered to be and has made new recommendations to the levels that welders should be exposed to.
The Changes That You Need to Pay Attention To:
Most industries still peg the allowable exposure limit at 0.2 milligrams per cubic meter, or mg/m3, over an eight-hour work day. The ACGIH has now issued a report that tags allowable Manganese exposure at only 0.02 mg/m3 if worker health is to be maintained. Extensive contact with manganese particulate matter that breaches this new safety limit can lead to neurological processing disorders, tremors, general weakness and lethargy, and even paralysis.
A further complication in this regard is the two tiers of monitoring and supervision prevalent in the United States. Per the federal mandates, Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for manganese compounds is 5 mg/m3, but if industries operate in states where the responsibility of ensuring compliance is delegated to state sponsored health and safety organizations with stricter codes and guidelines, then there is an imminent need to align with their specifications as well to avoid fines or shutdowns.
How Can Businesses Re-Think Manganese Exposure Strategy?
With the drastic decrease in allowable exposure over the workday, most current factory ventilation systems are no longer adequate. Manganese adds strength and hardness to manufactured products. It also makes steel impervious to the depredations of corrosion. Due to these factors, it is almost irreplaceable as a part of industrial manufacturing, and a need exists for products that limit welder exposure to manganese.
Abicor Binzel is one of the very few welding manufacturers that present two portable and innovative products that can assist in welding fume ventilation:
The solid and compact Fume Extraction Systems FES-200 & FES-200 W3 with auto operation capability allows for use when actual welding is underway to save energy and reduce welder fatigue and welding downtime.
The W3 is in fact one of the only Fume Extraction system on the market certified for Chrome and Nickel content welding by the IFA. Where the FES takes care of overall high vacuum extraction, the xFume™ Fume Extraction hits the problem right at the source. Small and easily maneuverable it directly sucks manganese oxide fumes from the welding spot when they are being emitted as a by-product of the process.
The two products in conjunction ensure that you can stick to newer and revised exposure guidelines without compromising productivity or the health and well-being of your welders.
Want more on Fume Extraction? We have an awesome, informative free guide that breaks it all down for you if you're looking to implement it in your shop:
For more information on the products we offer and how they can help contact us here.