Astron was engaged by Monadelphous KT to undertake a review of the welding and coating processes, the associated chemicals utilised and the ambient and occupational air quality risks during works. Astron undertook a screening program for a one week period, comprising of onsite personal monitoring for general welding fumes, nickel, chromium (hexavalent), iron, manganese, crystalline silica, cellulose, fluorides, calcium carbonate, formaldehyde and various hydrocarbons.
The process of welding essentially melts and joins metals together. It is this process which occurs at very high temperatures that volatilizes metal and other constituents, leading to a thermally generated plume of material, being a fume. The health effects of welding fume can vary considerably, due to the health effects being dependent on the particular metal, fluxes and cleaning agents that may be present within the welding process.
Personal air monitoring is generally undertaken over a representative period of time undertaken to Australian Standard AS 3640-2009 Workplace atmospheres - Method for sampling and gravimetric determination of inhalable dust using IOM sampling heads with flow rate of 2.0 L/min plus numerous other National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) methods.
Laboratory results from the monitoring program allowed Astron to accurately assess the risk and recommend targeted management intervention as required.