Metal Cutting Fluid Safety 231
Metal Cutting Fluid Safety provides an overview of the safety concerns related to working with metal cutting fluids. Some of the ingredients in various cutting fluids, as well as microorganisms that can grow in them, can be harmful. Exposure can occur through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. This exposure can lead to skin and respiratory disorders, including long-term illness. Safety measures, including ventilation, PPE, sanitation, training, and fluid maintenance, can reduce exposure to contaminants.
Manufacturers always want to ensure that operators are safe, that they are OSHA compliant, and that they do not lose productivity due to accidents. Operations using cutting fluids have specific safety concerns that must be addressed in order to maintain a safe work environment. After taking this class, users will know how to differentiate between various cutting fluids, recognize the health risks they pose, and understand how to use, handle, and maintain them safely.
Number of Lessons 22
- Introduction to Metal Cutting Fluids
- Cutting Fluid Information Resources
- Straight Oils and Soluble Oils
- Semi-Synthetic and Synthetic Metal Cutting Fluids
- Harmful Substances in Cutting Fluids
- Fluid Safety Basics
- Inhalation and Ingestion
- Skin Contact and Eye Contact
- Factors that Increase Exposure
- Sump Level
- Skin Disorders
- Long-Term Health Effects
- Exposure Types and Hazards Review
- Engineering Controls
- Ventilation Systems
- Worksite Organization
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Sanitation and Hygiene
- Fluid Maintenance
- Preventative Measures
- Fluid Management Occupational Safety and Health Program
- Final Review
- Describe the purpose of metal cutting fluids.
- Describe cutting fluid safety informational resources.
- Describe oil-based fluids.
- Describe synthetic-based fluids.
- Identify harmful substances in cutting fluids.
- Describe concerns related to inhalation and ingestion of metal cutting fluids.
- Describe factors related to skin and eye contact with cutting fluid.
- Identify factors that increase the severity of cutting fluid exposure.
- Identify factors that increase the severity of cutting fluid exposure.
- Describe skin disorders caused by cutting fluid contact.
- Describe long-term health effects of cutting fluid exposure.
- Identify engineering controls used to reduce cutting fluid exposure.
- Describe ventilation systems used to reduce cutting fluid exposure.
- Describe worksite practices that affect cutting fluid safety.
- Identify PPE necessary for operator safety when working with cutting fluids.
- Describe good hygiene practices for cutting fluid safety.
- Identify essential cutting fluid maintenance practices.
- Identify the steps of a fluid management occupational safety and health program.
A skin condition that causes pimples or pustules. Acne is a common skin issue caused by exposure to cutting fluids.
Any substance added to a cutting fluid to improve lubrication, cooling, or both during machining processes. Common additives include chlorine and sulfur.
A gaseous suspension of fine solid or liquid particles. Aerosol devices are sometimes used to deploy cutting fluids, which can pose a health hazard to operators if not used properly.
allergic contact dermatitis
A form of dermatitis that appears over time as a result of prolonged exposure to a substance. Allergic contact dermatitis is a particular concern for operators who regularly work with cutting fluids.
A small cavity in the lung that fills with air and facilitates the transfer of that air to the blood stream. Alveoli are sometimes informally referred to as air sacs.
A natural oil derived from the fat of animals. Animal oils are often used to improve the lubrication properties of straight oil.
A chronic lung disease characterized by fits of obstructed breathing or coughing. Asthma can be induced or worsened by exposure to cutting fluids, according to several studies.
A microorganism that may be harmful to inhale or ingest. Bacteria growth in cutting fluids is a sign of contamination and must be controlled.
Microorganisms that may be harmful to inhale or ingest. The growth of bacteria in cutting fluids is a sign of contamination and must be controlled.
A substance that is rubbed on the skin to provide a barrier and help reduce the effects of skin contact with a harmful substance. Barrier creams can be effective, but they must not be used as a substitute if an application requires gloves.
A type of microorganism present in cutting fluid that has developed an immunity to chemicals designed to kill it. Biocide-resistant microorganisms can increase the instance of illness related to cutting fluids since they are hard to remove from the fluid.
A substance that kills germs. Biocides are added to cutting fluids to prevent biological or fungal contamination.
The area immediately around an operator's nose and mouth, usually in a radius of 10 in. (25.4 cm). The breathing zone should be as free from contamination as possible to protect operator safety.
The formation of malignant cells that surround and invade healthy tissue. Cancer is a potentially fatal illness associated with overexposure to metal cutting fluids.
The formation of malignant cells that surround and invade healthy tissue. Cancers are potentially fatal illnesses associated with overexposure to metal cutting fluids.
A cancer-causing substance. Carcinogens are present in some raw manufacturing materials, such as crude oil.
A machine that separates elements of a solution based on their density. Centrifuges are used to clean cutting fluid by separating debris and tramp oil from the fluid.
A cutting fluid made from water and chemicals, such as nitrites and phosphates. Chemical fluid, also known as synthetic fluids, are primarily used for their ability to cool.
chemical protective clothing
CPC. Specialized clothing, including aprons, pants, and sleeves, designed to provide a protective barrier between the skin and harmful chemicals. Chemical protective clothing should be used whenever there is a high risk of splashing cutting fluids.
A process during which one or more substances are changed due to the introduction of another substance. A chemical reaction can occur between a cutting fluid and other manufacturing liquids, which can potentially create a hazard to metal cutting operators.
An unwanted piece of metal that is removed from the workpiece. Chips are formed when a tool cuts or grinds metal.
A persistent inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is an illness associated with overexposure to cutting fluid.
computer numerical control
CNC. A programmable combination of software and hardware directed by mathematical data that controls the operation of a machine. Most computer numerical control machines are completely enclosed to minimize cutting fluid exposure.
The chemical or oil mixture that is diluted with water to create a suitable cutting fluid. Concentrate must be checked regularly to ensure optimal fluid performance.
Any foreign substance that may cause a loss of efficiency or a breakdown in fluid system. Contaminants must be cleaned from a cutting fluid through the use of a skimmer, centrifuge, or similar device.
The presence of any unwanted substances in a fluid or air system. Contamination can cause health issues for operators and reduce the effectiveness of a metal cutting process.
A substance used to reduce the high heat generated during metal cutting procedures. A coolant helps to improve finished part quality, increase tool service life, and prevent smoking between the tool and workpiece.
Removing heat from an area. Cooling is one of the primary benefits provided by cutting fluids, which absorb heat and carry it away from the work area.
The ability of a material to resist deterioration and chemical breakdown due to surface exposure in a particular environment. Corrosion resistance in machined parts can be improved through the use of cutting fluids.
A type of unrefined petroleum oil. Crude oil contains carcinogens.
Any fluid used to cool, lubricate, prevent built-up edges and chip welding, and clear chips during metal cutting. Cutting fluids can be oil- or water-based liquids, gases, or pastes.
A device made of hard, tough material that is used to remove metal by creating chips. Cutting tools can degrade over time but cutting fluids can extend their service life.
The area of contact between the cutting tool and the workpiece. The cutting zone is often lubricated and cooled through the use of metal cutting fluids.
dedicated exhaust systems
A type of ventilation system that captures air directly at the source of contamination. Dedicated exhaust systems, also known as local exhaust systems, greatly reduce operator exposure to cutting fluid mist when designed properly.
The change in an object's size or shape as a result of stress. Deformation can occur in tools or workpieces as a result of excessive heat during manufacturing processes.
Deterioration or breakdown of a material or substance. Cutting fluids degrade over time, which causes them to become more of a health hazard for machine operators.
A red, itchy rash that appears on the skin. Dermatitis is a common issue caused by skin exposure to cutting fluids and can lead to permanent scarring and skin disfiguration.
A skin condition that causes an itchy red rash. Dermatitis is often a result of skin contact with metal cutting fluids.
A substance with chemical components that acts as a cleaning agent. Detergents are used to clean operator clothing and skin after exposure to cutting fluids.
The process of weakening or diminishing. Some gloves will deteriorate when exposed to cutting fluid and should not be used for operations involving those fluids.
The process of making a substance weaker by adding another substance. General exhaust systems work by diluting the air contaminated by cutting fluid mist or evaporation.
dilution ventilation systems
A type of exhaust system that ventilates a large work area by diluting contaminated air. Dilution ventilation systems, also known as general ventilation systems, are less effective at reducing exposure than local exhaust systems.
A cutting fluid that is composed of oil, emulsifiers, water, and other additives. Emulsifiable oil, also known as soluble oil, is obtained as a concentrate that is then mixed with water.
A substance that allows small droplets of one liquid to be suspended in another liquid. Emulsifiers allow oil and water to mix to form a stable solution.
A step taken by an operator or engineer to reduce hazards and safety risks. Engineering controls include choosing quality chemicals, installing exhaust systems, and maintaining machines and cutting fluid.
The various equipment used to construct a ventilation system. Exhaust components include hoods, ductwork, and stacks.
The removal of a substance using force. Extraction is the mechanism by which exhaust systems remove contaminated air from a work space.
Physically touching the eye without any protection. Eye contact is one of the most common forms of metal cutting fluid exposure.
Any piece of PPE that protects the eyes in a work area. Eye protection includes goggles and safety glasses.
A designated, easily-accessible area where operators may flush their faces and eyes with water in the event of an emergency. An eye-wash station is essential in any workplace where cutting fluid might come in contact with an operator's eyes.
A breathing device worn to prevent the inhalation of fumes or dust. Face masks are made of cloth-like fibers and do not provide as much respiratory protection as respirators.
A rigid, transparent plastic sheet that covers the worker's entire face to protect against splashing fluid and debris. Face shields are often worn with goggles to provide more complete protection.
A rigid, transparent plastic sheet worn over the face to protect against dust or splashes. Face shields do not protect against impacts, so they are often worn with safety goggles.
A screen used for limiting contamination by trapping and separating particulate matter. Filters can be used to strain debris and other contaminants from cutting fluids.
A portable device that uses a rapid spray of chemicals to put out small fires. Fire extinguishers are essential safety equipment when working with flammable materials.
A material that can easily ignite and start a fire. Flammable fluids include the various oils used in metal cutting, and proper safety precautions must be observed when using these fluids.
fluid management occupational safety and health
A NIOSH-recommended program to ensure the safety of operators who may be exposed to cutting fluid. The fluid management occupational safety and health program includes safety and health training, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and medical monitoring of exposed workers.
Bubbles formed in cutting fluid due to excess air. Fluids that foam make less contact with the tool and workpiece, reducing cutting fluid efficiency.
A force that resists the movement of two objects sliding against each other. Friction causes heat to form in the areas where the objects contact.
Plant-like organisms, such as yeast or mushrooms, that absorb their sustenance from other dead or living organisms. Fungi can grow in cutting fluids and increase health risks for operators.
general exhaust systems
A type of exhaust system that ventilates a large work area by diluting contaminated air. General exhaust systems, also known as dilution ventilation systems, are less effective at reducing exposure than local exhaust systems.
A type of tight-fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes, the sockets, and the surrounding facial area. Goggles offer protection from impact, dust, chips, and splashes.
A source of danger or possible injury. Hazards can be physical hazards, such as falling objects, or health hazards, such as chemical exposure.
Hazard Communication Standard
HCS. An established OSHA policy that sets guidelines for developing and disseminating information related to chemical safety in the workplace. The Hazard Communication Standard emphasizes the importance of labeling and providing SDS, as well as proper training.
hazard prevention control
The use and continual assessment of engineering controls designed to reduce workplace hazards. Hazard prevention control is the third step of the fluid management occupational safety and health program.
The accumulation of elevated temperatures. Heat is often the result of friction.
Any metal cutting operation that takes place at a particularly rapid pace. High-speed cutting operations usually require cutting fluids with good cooling properties.
An exhaust component that uses high-power suction to capture contaminated air at the source. A hood is usually used in local exhaust systems.
A colorless, flammable, poisonous gas that has a characteristic rotten-egg odor. Hydrogen sulfide is a byproduct of a number of microorganisms.
HP. An inflammation of the lungs caused by bacterial or fungal exposure. Hypersensitivity pneumonia is a potential negative health effect caused by exposure to cutting fluids.
The introduction of disease-causing agents to the body. Infections of the skin are one of the health hazards caused by cutting fluid exposure.
Eating or swallowing a substance. Ingestion can cause health issues for operators if they eat or drink near machines that use metal cutting fluids.
Breathing in an airborne substance. Inhalation can lead to a number of health complications when working with metal cutting fluids.
irritant contact dermatitis
A form of dermatitis that appears only in the area of exposure. Irritant contact dermatitis can be caused by splashing cutting fluid and should be treated immediately.
A printed form of identification that is attached to a container. Labels that detail the composition of a chemical are required by OSHA.
A specialized rubber polymer originally derived from tree sap. Latex gloves are fluid resistant and can prevent fluid from reaching an operator's skin.
local exhaust systems
A type of ventilation system that captures air directly at the source of contamination. Local exhaust systems, also known as dedicated exhaust systems, greatly reduce operator exposure to cutting fluid mist when designed properly.
A substance that reduces friction. A common lubricant used in metal cutting is straight oil.
A substance that reduces friction between two surfaces in relative motion. Cutting fluids provide lubrication in metal forming and cutting applications.
A general term used to describe the effectiveness of a lubricant. An effective lubricant has high lubricity.
A physical barrier used to totally contain encase a metal cutting operation. Machine enclosures limit operator exposure to cutting fluids.
Clean air brought in to replace contaminated air. Make-up air is an essential piece of any effective ventilation system.
A natural oil derived from the fat of marine animals. Marine oil can improve lubrication when added to straight oil.
The infliction of damage to an object. Marring in a tool or workpiece is often a result of excessive friction during metal cutting processes.
mechanical part handling equipment
A device designed to hold, move, or otherwise transport a manufactured part. Mechanical part handling equipment reduces the contact between a part and an operator, reducing potential exposure to cutting fluid left on the part surface.
A naturally occurring material with high electric and thermal conductivity, luster, density, and strength. Examples of metals include copper, iron, nickel, and lead.
A machining process that uses a tool to remove metal from a workpiece. Metal cutting processes include drilling, turning, and milling.
MWF. The collective grouping of the most common fluids used in metal cutting. Metalworking fluids include cutting oils, soluble oils, and synthetic fluids.
A tiny organism, usually single-celled, that cannot be seen without specialized equipment. Many microorganisms emit harmful fumes and their presence can be detected by a rancid smell.
Any one of the various light hydrocarbon oils that are derived from natural petroleum. Mineral oils are used as both lubricants and coolants, though they provide better lubrication than cooling.
A suspension of liquid droplets in the air. Some cutting fluids form mist or are deployed as mist, which must be properly enclosed and ventilated for operator safety.
A hydrating substance that is rubbed on skin. Moisturizing cream can reduce skin irritation caused by contact with cutting fluids.
Any type of the various fungi that cause the disintegration of organic matter. Molds can cause a range of health issues for operators and are often present on the surface of cutting fluids.
Metalworking fluids. The collective grouping of the most common fluids used in metal cutting. Metalworking fluids include cutting oils, soluble oils, and synthetic fluids.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The federal agency that is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Containing no substances known to create an allergic reaction. Non-allergenic cutting fluids are increasingly used to protect operator health.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA. A government agency that sets the standards for working conditions in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ensures that operators work in safe and healthy environments.
A thick piece of specially made material that soaks up oil. Oil-absorbent pads can be used to clean tramp oil off the surface of cutting fluids to prevent contamination.
A person trained to run a specific machine. Operators are responsible for helping to ensure that a process runs properly, efficiently, and safely.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A government agency that sets the standards for working conditions in the United States. OSHA ensures that operators work in safe and healthy environments.
Permissible exposure limits. The amount of a hazardous chemical to which an operator can be exposed based on a time-weighted average for an eight-hour shift, or the amount of time during that shift to which they can be exposed to the hazardous chemical. A PEL is set by OSHA and employers must, by law, ensure machine operators follow all applicable PELs.
periodic medical monitoring
The process of having a qualified health professional perform routine health screenings for any operator who has potentially been exposed to a cutting fluid. Periodic medical monitoring is the fourth step of the fluid management occupational safety and health program.
permissible exposure limits
PEL. The amount of a hazardous chemical to which an operator can be exposed based on a time-weighted average for an eight-hour shift, or the amount of time during that shift to which they can be exposed to the hazardous chemical. Permissible exposure limits are set by OSHA and employers must, by law, ensure machine operators follow all applicable PELs.
personal protective equipment
PPE. Various safety equipment that operators wear to prevent injury or illness in the workplace. Personal protective equipment includes safety goggles, gloves, and respirators.
A thick mixture of gaseous, liquid, and solid hydrocarbons that occurs naturally beneath the surface of the earth. Refined petroleum oil can be used in metal cutting processes as a lubricant.
PPE. Various safety equipment that operators wear to prevent injury or illness in the workplace. Personal protective equipment includes safety goggles, gloves, and respirators.
The continual flow of air within a closed system. Re-circulation of contaminated air is a safety hazard for machine operators using cutting fluid.
The amount of processing a chemical has undergone from its crude state. Refinement helps determine how hazardous a chemical may be to an operator.
The process of purifying crude oil to make it usable in manufacturing procedures. Refining crude oil reduces the amount of carcinogens present in the oil.
An optical instrument used to measure the chemical concentration in most cutting fluids. A refractometer uses a specialized gauge called a Brix scale to measure concentrate in a cutting fluid.
A substance deposited or left behind by a reaction or event. Residue from machining operations can be controlled through the use of cutting fluid.
A breathing device worn to prevent inhalation of hazardous substances. Respirators filter out chemicals as well as particulate matter and provide better respiratory protection than face masks.
Concerning the organs involved in breathing air. Respiratory organs include the nose, esophagus, and lungs.
Any of the various diseases that affect the human respiratory system, including chronic bronchitis and lung cancer. Respiratory disease can occur as a result of long-term inhalation of cutting fluids.
An elastic substance that can be either natural or manufactured. Rubber gloves are waterproof and can prevent skin contact with cutting fluids.
A general term for iron oxide. Rust is a reddish-brown substance caused by a ferrous metal's reaction with moisture and oxygen.
safety and health training
Instruction focused on teaching operators to recognize and rectify hazards, wear proper PPE, react to an emergency, and other actions that protect the health and safety of operators in the workplace. Safety and health training is the first step of the fluid management occupational safety and health program.
safety data sheets
SDS. A fact sheet that details all the components of a substance and any associated health or safety hazards. A safety data sheet will list information such as cutting fluid composition, stability and reactivity, and physical and chemical properties.
Tight-fitting eye protection that completely cover the eyes, the sockets, and the surrounding facial area. Safety goggles offer protection from cutting fluid splashes, as well as impact, dust, and chips.
Safety data sheets. A fact sheet that details all the components of a substance and any associated health or safety hazards. An SDS will list information such as cutting fluid composition, stability and reactivity, and physical and chemical properties.
A water-based cutting fluid containing a mixture of chemicals and soluble oil. Semi-chemical fluid, also known as semi-synthetic fluid, is used in applications where lubrication and cooling are equally important, such as heavy-duty machining.
A water-based cutting fluid containing a mixture of chemicals and soluble oil. Semi-synthetic fluid, also called semi-chemical fluid, is used in applications where lubrication and cooling are equally important, such as heavy-duty machining.
The length of time a tool or machine is expected to be operational before it must be replaced. The service life of a cutting tool can be improved through the use of metal cutting fluids.
short-term exposure limits
STEL. The amount of a hazardous chemical to which a worker can be exposed for a short period of time, usually around 15 minutes, based on a time-weighted average. Short-term exposure limits are set by OSHA and must, by law, be followed by all machine operators.
The act of drawing off a liquid through the use of suction. Tramp oil can be siphoned from the surface of cutting fluids to prevent contamination.
A device that uses a rotating wheel or belt to remove unwanted materials from the surface of a liquid. Skimmers can be used to remove debris or tramp oil floating on a cutting fluid.
Physically touching the skin without any protection. Skin contact is one of the major forms of cutting fluid exposure.
The formation of a noxious vapor. Smoking in manufacturing is often the result of excessive friction.
A substance made of natural oils or fats combined with a strong alkali material. Soaps are added to cutting fluids to improve lubrication.
A cutting fluid that is composed of oil, emulsifiers, water, and other additives. Soluble oil, also known as emulsifiable oil, is obtained as a concentrate that is then mixed with water.
A chemical substance used to dissolve another material. Solvents can be added to a metal cutting fluid to help prevent staining on a workpiece.
A plastic shield that covers the point of operation and protects the operator from contact with cutting fluids. Splash guards are particularly important with any high-pressure cutting fluid application.
A cutting fluid that is based on mineral and other oils and contains no water. Straight oil provides excellent lubrication but little cooling.
The ratio of liquid to concentrate in the sump. Sump level must be monitored carefully because a low water level increases operator exposure to harmful substances in cutting fluids.
The amount of time a cutting fluid maintains its water-to-concentrate characteristics. Sump life can be extended by proper fluid cleaning and maintenance.
A low-lying reservoir that holds and pumps cutting fluid. Sumps should regularly be cleaned of contamination such as tramp oil or microorganisms.
A cutting fluid made from water and chemicals, such as nitrites and phosphates. Synthetic fluids, also known as chemical fluids, are primarily used for their ability to cool.
TWA. A measure of chemical exposure that is an average of varying levels of exposure experienced in a given eight-hour workday. Time-weighted average is used to determine permissible exposure limits and short-term exposure limits for operators working with cutting fluids.
Poisonous or harmful. Toxic substances can cause a range of illnesses and must be handled carefully.
Hydraulic oil or grease from the machine tool that has contaminated the cutting fluid. Tramp oil can allow the growth of bacteria and other contamination and must be removed.
A raised lesion or open sore. Ulcerations can occur when metal cutting fluid enters an operator's eye.
Any one of the various oils obtained from plants. Vegetable oils may be used in straight oil combinations to lubricate a metal cutting process.
A means of providing fresh air. Ventilation is essential for most cutting operations using a cutting fluid, particularly operations that use cutting fluid as a mist or aerosol.
A means of cleaning or re-circulating contaminated air. Ventilation systems are necessary in certain cutting fluid operations, particularly high-volume production, to prevent inhalation of cutting fluid.
The measure of how easily a fluid moves or flows. Low viscosity fluids flow easily while high viscosity fluids flow less easily.
Water that has a small percentage of particulate matter, such as calcium and magnesium, present. Water softness can lead to excessive foaming in cutting fluids, which reduces fluid effectiveness.
water-miscible cutting fluids
A coolant that is capable of being mixed with water and is at least partially composed of water. Water-miscible cutting fluids include soluble oils, synthetic fluids, and semi-synthetic fluids and provide lubrication and cooling during the metal cutting process.
To cover with liquid. Fluids with good wetting abilities thoroughly coat the workpiece and cutting tool.
A part that is subjected to one or more manufacturing procedures, such as welding, machining, or casting. During machining processes, a workpiece is often protected from defects through the use of a cutting fluid.
The point of contact between the workpiece and the tool used to machine it. Failure at the workpiece-tool interface may indicate that a cutting fluid is no longer safe to use.
The general area where manufacturing processes are performed. A worksite must be cleaned and properly maintained to ensure operator safety.
The routine monitoring of operator exposure to cutting fluids, engineering controls, work practices, and other worksite equipment and safety protocols. Worksite analysis is the second step of the fluid management occupational safety and health program.