UKLA and trade bodies call on industry to use metalworking fluids safely

1 min read

The United Kingdom Lubricants Association (UKLA) Metalworking Fluid Product Stewardship Group (MWFPSG) has joined with leading industry bodies, BOHS, Make UK, MTA and SHEP to issue an open letter calling on industry to work safely with metalworking fluids.

This supports the HSE campaign, which includes inspections to look at how employers are ensuring workers are protected from metalworking fluids.

Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause harm to lungs and skin through inhalation or direct contact with unprotected skin, particularly hands, forearms and face. However, when used in line with guidance, correct use of metalworking fluids can improve machine efficiency, reduce downtime, improve machining operations and improve productivity while minimising health risks.

Businesses that use metalworking fluids should take action in three key areas;

FLUID - Look after your fluid. Carry out fluid quality checks to minimise the risk to health, ensure good metalworking fluid performance and protect your investment.

MIST - Install local exhaust ventilation on CNC machines to reduce operator exposure to metalworking fluid mist.

HEALTH - Arrange health surveillance for employees working with metalworking fluids, to identify any ill health early.

UKLA and its partners want to support and encourage greater engagement in the safe use and management of metalworking fluids and are constantly striving to improve standards across the industry in order to benefit employees and businesses.

HSE inspector Fiona McGarry, said: “Lung problems and irritated skin don’t have to be associated with working with metalworking fluids if you take the right precautions. It is really important that control measures and fluid quality checks are in place to keep workers healthy. Health checks are essential to identify signs of ill-health early.’’

Stuart Duff, UKLA Metalworking Fluid Product Stewardship Group Chair said: ‘‘The UK has one of the safest working environments in Europe. By taking three simple steps UK industry can work towards becoming one of the healthiest places to work at the same time as improving production efficiencies, reducing machinery downtime and minimising operator ill-health."