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Metal fabrication/welding hazard?


I have been working in a shop for 3 weeks, the shop fabricates special items for its clients. This week I was grinding the coating off 1 inch plate and now all I can smell and taste is steel. This was two twelve hour days doing this and I was outside. On my day off all I want to do is lay around and nap! The vent system in the shop is a roll-up door and air conditing, no blowers or fans to help the fumes and grinding dust out of the shop. can any one tell me what to do?


Welder / Fabricator - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


Wanting to nap after two 12 hour days working in the sun is not necessarily a sign that you have some kind of horrible toxic poisoning :-)

And I'm a bit confused about how if you were working outside, the vent system in the shop is concerning you.

Nevertheless, there are issues of concern! If you are grinding off a coating and don't even know what it is, that's a problem where you probably aren't being informed enough. And if there is inadequate ventilation, that's a serious problem too. Look up the number for the OSHA Hotline in your local phone book; if the shop is unsafe it should be fixed or closed.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Sounds like he might have been grinding galvanizing off of steel. With no respirator (mask) it is possible that he could have inhaled enough fumes to have a mild dose of zinc poisoning. You need to ask your boss for a MSDS sheet for what ever that coating is. It will list the required safety equipment. Do not be shocked if your boss finds some way to fire you if you make an issue of it. If the company is not willing to follow the law, find another job, leave and turn them in.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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