Every Breath You Take: Reducing Risks for Lung Disease in Machinists

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Metalworking fluids are used in metal working and fabrication to cool and protect the cutting equipment and to protect surface finishes on machine components.  Problematically high speed machining disperses metal working fluid as fine droplets which can be inhaled by machinists.  The use of water based metal working fluid is associated with outbreaks of occupational allergic lung disease and dermatitis. With use metal working fluids deteriorate and contain large numbers of micro-organisms, toxins, fine metal particles, Tramp oil, and other chemical hazards. Inhalation of this complex mixture is likely to cause inflammation in the airways and in some individuals allergic lung disease.

Understanding causation of this disease is challenging therefore to stimulate an exchange of ideas, in 2020 a workshop was held with representatives from PEROSH Institutes from Austria, Finland, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.  The event, hosted by INRS in Paris, successfully focused on sharing knowledge about national investigations of skin and lung disease in machinists; and about methods for monitoring employee exposure to metal working fluids.  

To continue this exchange of knowledge and to support partnership work between PEROSH Institutes, a second workshop will be held in December 2021 hosted by Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA) in Austria.  The second workshop will focus on sharing good practice for investigating ill-health, and taking preventive actions such as communicating safe working practices to machinists.

If you would like to know more about this planned event, please contact either Dr. Parisa Ansari (parisa.ansari@auva.at) or Dr. Gareth Evans (gareth.evans@hse.gov.uk).

header picture – crown copyight


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PEROSH comprises 14 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) institutes

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