Health and Safety Aspects in the Use of Metalworking Fluids
Industrial operations that utilize metalworking fluids (MWFs) may expose some workers to a variety of conditions or substances that present hazards that can affect their health and safety, depending on the nature of specific work activities or conditions in machine shops. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), MWFs can cause adverse health effects through skin contact with contaminated materials, spray, or mist and through inhalation from breathing MWF mist or aerosol. Metal removal fluids (MRFs) are a subset of the broader group of industrial products known as MWFs, which include industrial cleaners, metal forming and stamping fluids, corrosion preventives, and heat-treating fluids, as well as metal removal fluids. In December 1993, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) petitioned OSHA to take emergency regulatory action to protect workers from the risks of occupational cancers and respiratory illnesses due to exposure to MWFs.