Welders work on almost any sort of project that requires the joining of metal parts. This could involve work on construction sites, bridges, ships and pipelines. And the process of welding always produces smoke that contains gas byproducts and metal fumes.
If inhaled, welding fumes can cause very severe health issues. Even short term exposure can cause problems, such as irritation of nose, throat, and eyes as well as dizziness and nausea. Prolonged exposure can result in damage to the kidneys and nervous system. The fumes could also cause larynx, lung and urinary tract cancer.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that welders do the following to lower their exposure to welding gases and fumes:
- When working outside, stay upwind of welding fumes.
- When working inside, always use available ventilation systems and make sure other workers are clear of exhaust ports.
- Use respiratory protection in situations where ventilation or other precautions don't sufficiently lower the risk of fume exposure.
- Keep welding surfaces clean and free of coatings that may cause exposure to toxic fumes.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer or some other serious illness that you believe was caused by breathing welding fumes, it is imperative that you see and receive the benefits offered by New York's workers' compensation system. Given that treatment for cancer can be both expensive and time-consuming, you may want to have an experienced workers' compensation attorney help you file your claim. An attorney can help ensure that you receive the fullest complement of benefits possible to cover such things as medical expenses, prescription drugs and time lost from work.