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HSE and metalworking fluids

''The HSE and stakeholders have agreed to work together to cut cases of work-related ill health, particularly asthma.

A good practice guide for safe handling and disposal of MWF's (PDF) has been prepared by a panel of experts from UK Lubricants Association (UKLA) and HSE. The guide provides good practice advice on how to maintain and control exposure to MWFs to prevent ill health in workshops.

Main health risks from working with metalworking fluids

Skin problems – Dermatitis

A serious health concern associated with metalworking fluids is dermatitis. Every year, around 200 cases of contact dermatitis related to exposure to cutting oils and coolants are reported to EPIDERM (European Prevention Initiative for Dermatological Malignancies) - a scheme in which dermatologists report cases of occupational skin disorders. These figures are undoubtedly a very substantial underestimate of the true incidence of skin disease. There are also thought to be risks to the skin arising from exposure to water-mix wash fluids used to clean machined components.''

Oil skimmers are specifically designed to remove oil and other hydrocarbon-based substances from the surface of coolant.

They work by attracting and collecting oil, which is then separated from the water.

This makes them effective for tasks such as reducing smog during machining process, reducing risk of dermatitis, reducing growth of bacteria.

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