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Dangers of not wearing brazing mask

UK: The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has warned members of the dangers of not wearing of a face mask while carrying out oxy-acetylene brazing. 

IMCA, the London-based international trade association for the marine contracting industry, reports an incident of a crew member affected by carbon monoxide poisoning while performing a repair on a broken gas return isolation valve on a ship’s refrigeration system.

The crew member, who was not wearing a mask, is said to have felt unwell, but continued the job. The task was completed after one hour and then the crew member had breathing difficulties, was coughing and experienced chest pains. A medical assessment showed low oxygen saturation level. An emergency evacuation was activated due to possible respiratory distress or even heart problems.

It was found that the company’s procedures did not require the wearing of a face mask for this gas welding, although the wearing of a face mask was identified in the PTW as an “additional protection only”. 

IMCA observed that the need for a portable exhaust ventilation system was not identified in the risk assessment for the working area, neither were the risks and hazards associated with TIG welding.

The crew member did not take regular breaks during the task as indicated in the risk assessment, and kept on working when he felt ill rather than stopping and resting. 

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