Clean and reliable

by Hans Diederichs

Cleanliness in the workplace is not only important for technical reasons - health considerations and various directives are increasingly restricting the kinds of processing that can be carried out.

“Cleanliness in the workplace is frequently an absolute must for technical reasons”, explains Ralf Heimann, Product Manager for grinding tools at PFERD, the Marienheide-based manufacturer of surface processing tools, with reference to the basic requirements for metalworking. There are numerous issues such as contact corrosion, mechanical damage and contamination by dust or oils/oil vapour.

Where processing involves complex materials, in addition to the technical and functional requirements there also rules designed to protect the worker. “We have to comply with the ‘Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS)’. They set out the technology to be used, as well as requirements for occupational medicine and working hygiene, and stipulate ergonomic standards for activities involving hazardous substances.” 

For example, these hazardous substances can be found in non-ferrous metal production, in crude iron and steel production and in electroplating when producing coatings using chromates. “Many of our customers’ applications in aerospace, power station construction and turbine engineering involve processing of chromium VI compounds.” Spray painting with primers containing chromium is used on aircraft, large components and jet engine components. Chromium (VI) compounds are carcinogenic and are classified as skin - and in some cases also respiratory tract - sensitizers, “two risks that a worker can be exposed to during grinding work.” If the employer is unable to completely rule out any hazard to employees performing activities involving carcinogenic substances, they must reduce the risk to a minimum. Technical measures are given priority over organisational and personal protective measures or monitoring by occupational medics. As processing frequently takes place directly on or in an aircraft, and many individual parts and components are too large for processing in an extraction booth, mobile solutions like this are the preferred option.

Source and photo: PFERD

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