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Welding industry hazards can cause serious workplace illness

Employees in New York in occupations that involve welding, brazing and cutting are part of over 500,000 workers in the tri-state region surrounding New York City who face serious health risks if they work without proper safety gear. The danger posed by this industry comes in the form of gases and fumes that could be hazardous. Welding activities produce visible smoke -- in the welder's breathing space -- containing harmful gas byproducts and metal fumes that can cause workplace illness.

The metals that can bring about dangerous fumes when welded include aluminum, copper, lead, iron, manganese, tin, silver, nickel and many others. The gases produced that may cause respiratory illnesses include argon, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, helium, nitric oxide, nitrogen and more. Only unprotected workers are at risk of inhaling theses hazardous gases and fumes, and illness is preventable if all employers would provide adequate respirators that fit properly.

Employers who fail to provide the required respiratory protection will expose employees to various occupational illnesses that may include respiratory irritation that could lead to asphyxiation, stomach ulcers, various cancer types and more. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations in place to protect employees from the hazards of welding fumes and gases. However, despite facing citations and penalties, some business owners continue to disregard employee health and safety.

New York workers who are suffering the consequences of a workplace illness may need long-term medical care and may have to deal with the loss of income. Fortunately, the state's workers' compensation insurance system provides benefits to cover the costs of medical treatment and wage losses. Some employees choose to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue maximum compensation for them.

Source:, "New York Firm Protects Workers from Exposure Hazards to Welding Fumes", Feb. 6, 2017

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