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Your Health and Safety with Metalworking Fluids, or Coolants

Hopefully your shop has a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Handbook which contains the MSDS sheets for all the products that are utilized in your facility, or department.

Its review is important as it details the following in regards to the product:

  • Manufacturer Information
  • Ingredient Information, hazardous and non-hazardous
  • First Aid and Emergency Measures
  • Handling & Storage Information
  • Personal Protection
  • Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Stability and Reactivity
  • Toxilogical and Ecological Information

Any substance is harmful in some quantity, however, the MSDS will provide useful information as to how, and in what quantity, it should be used.

The MSDS also indicates what type of personal protection equipment (PPE) should be used. Keep in mind that even if they are worn, the substance can still pose a health threat if not used properly, or if personal hygiene is poor.

For MWF considerations, wear any PPE suggested in its MSDS. Gloves should always be worn, when possible, since there may be constant contact with the coolant. Allow for breathing of the skin and do not use gritty hand soaps, as these encourage irritation.

Mist control is also very important within the area since inhalation of mists are known to cause sensitivity and disease when above certain limits. Research has indicated that mists are formed not only by high feeds and speeds, but by oil contamination within the coolant itself. Mists are formed, as well, by drying parts with compressed air. The more machines in the area, the worse the mist may be.

This mist not only increases occurrances of adverse health effects, it sticks to every surface of the machine, harming its electrical components and can cause premature equipment failure.

Proper ventilation is the key to prevention of adverse health effects and other problems associated with it.


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Metalworking Fluid Maintenance