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July 9, 2012

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Immunisation warning for welders

Employers need to ensure that welders and other workers exposed to metal fumes have access to a vaccination that can prevent serious lung disease.

In a review of evidence, published in the scientific journal Occupational Medicine, researchers found that welders die more often from certain types of pneumonia. Consequently, they should be offered the PPV23 vaccination, so that potentially fatal lung disease can be prevented.

The review cited evidence that welders were up to six times more likely to suffer from pneumococcal pneumonia – a disease that usually affects those who are very young, the elderly and those with impaired immunity. For this reason, many employers may be unaware that welders are more at risk and the need for vaccination.

Lead author Keith Palmer, professor of occupational medicine at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, said: “Many employers are unaware that exposure to welding fume can cause pneumonia. Although fatal cases are rare, they can occur. Companies need to ensure that anyone who undertakes welding work, or is exposed to metal fumes is offered the vaccination.

“They also need to advise workers how to reduce their exposure to the fumes as much as possible and encourage them to not smoke.”

The paper confirms recent advice from the Department of Health that welders should be given the vaccination. However, the Society of Occupational Medicine believes awareness of this guidance needs to be communicated better to health-care professionals, welders and their employers.€

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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11 years ago

‘vaccination is not a substitute’

I believe an effective and well maintained Fume Extraction system alongside a vaccination would really help to reduce this and the associated risks of welding.

11 years ago

Training for welders would do as well, I’ve found 50/50 knowledge amounst sub contractors on site.