Metal working fluids are used to remove particles during grinding and machining procedures. They reduce the amount of heat and friction produced and can be referred to as metal cutting fluids.
They are a powerful resource in the machine industry yet due to their complex chemical compositions, they require extra care and consideration when working with them. Metal working fluids are composed of mixtures of straight oils, corrosion inhibitors and additives to introduce extreme pressure, emulsifiers, biocides and anti-weld agents.
While in use, the fluid may become contaminated by hydraulic fluids or particles produced by grinding. Over time, water-based fluids may become contaminated via bacterial growth which may cause biological byproducts like mycotoxins and endotoxins.
In some cases, exposure such as breathing in the aerosols fumes or skin contact when touching equipment or tools covered with the fluids can cause negative effects. These effects include allergic reactions such as a rash, impaired lung function, chronic bronchitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and asthma.
To prevent these, you should always adhere to the following measures:
- Wear protective clothing before handling the fluids. Wear a mask and gloves at all times.
- Ensure your working area is properly ventilated to avoid contaminant recirculation.
- When using a fluid, use splash guards to prevent unnecessary spraying and splashing.
- Keep all machines clean and ensure the fluids are changed frequently.
- Always follow the precautions given on the Safety Data Sheets from your supplier.
- Always wash your hands before eating or drinking and avoid eating or drinking in the work area.
- Ensure that all machinery undergoes regular maintenance to reduce contamination from tramp oils.