Laser Fume Extraction
A Very Necessary Extraction
The importance of efficient laser fume extraction cannot be over-emphasised
Most laser uses are aware of the visible dangers of the laser beam and adopt the necessary safety measures such as protective eyewear. However, it is the dangers you cannot see that require just as much attention.
Toxic Chemicals and Particulates
Inside that laser cabinet, a whole range of toxic chemicals are rising into the air as well as a considerable amount of harmful particulates. For example, in plastics welding, known carcinogens are produced and when cutting MDF, both carcinogens and formaldehyde are the by-products of the process.
The Need for Extraction
The particulates generated in most laser applications are sub-micron in size and respirable. If not extracted from the air, they can create lung damage and cause allergic, carcinogenic and toxic effects. In plastics welding, the gases given off are Volatile Organic Compounds, some of which are extremely toxic. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s not only laser operators who are at risk of harm. The optical system of the laser is susceptible to damage from particulates getting burnt into the lens. This can reduce laser efficiency and affect the quality of any code used in marking applications.
Dangers of Fume Exposure
With around 4000* deaths each year due to past exposure to fumes, chemicals and dust and about 555,000* working days lost each year due to breathing or lung problems, there is a raft of legislation in place to protect your workforce from exposure. These include HSE and COSHH regulations as well as the employer’s Duty of Care. Yet organisations (including schools) are putting lives at risk by applying insufficient extraction to their laser systems. By turning a blind eye, the offenders are leaving themselves wide open to some extremely expensive litigation costs. It’s also costing them money in the reduced working life of their lasers not to mention the cost of downtime.
Legal Extraction Equipment
By installing the correct and legal extraction equipment for your laser, you are making an investment that could well produce long term savings all round. As UK distributors and product partners of the world leaders in fume extraction, BOFA, we can help you find the extractor products that meet your needs precisely and effectively.
For product details, please go to the Laser Safety section of this site or for further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
*Source: Occupational Asthma Statistics/HSE 2010/11 - see www.hse.gov.uk