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The dangers of fumes and how to safely contain them

We’ve previously talked about the dangers of dust for factory and warehouse workers with the main dust-related diseases affecting construction workers being lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

But fumes can also be a cause for concern. Workers within factories and warehouses are exposed to a range of chemicals and pollutants, meaning air quality is a critical safety issue for anyone working within these environments.

Everything from the manufacturing processes to inadequate up keep of ventilation can contribute to poor air quality within warehouses and factories.

Breathe Freely, a BOHS initiative aimed at reducing occupational lung disease in the UK, estimate that there are around 4,000 people within the manufacturing industry who are suffering from breathing and lung problems caused or made worse by their work.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently announced that they were raising control standards for welding fumes in particular. Manufacturing workers are at high risk from fumes given off by welding and hot cutting processes which give off very fine particles that cause cancer, COPD and an increased susceptibility to pneumonia. This is not the first time they’ve addressed specific safety concerns; last October the HSE conducted inspections in construction firms across the country to tackle the dangers of site dust.


At Westgate we have two innovative solutions to help companies comply with fume control regulations:


Flexicurtain is an internal or external retractable curtain wall used to provide temporary segregation of two areas. The solution can be used to create booths or welding curtains in which fumes can be contained. Using a range of standard fire rated PVC materials, Flexicurtain is designed bespoke with a number of options including; vision panels, stainless steel tracks, suspended tracks, single run or bi-parting applications, wind load straps (external applications) with manual or electric operation.


Flexiwall is a unique floor-to-ceiling fabric partition wall that can be designed to fit any size and shape of building and will easily install around existing ducts and pipework to create an over 99% seal. This solution is ideal to segregate larger areas within warehouses and factories. Flexiwall can also be easily reconfigured, relocated or removed as the needs of a business change.

The HSE also advises that where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control risk from the residual fumes.

To find out more about our Flexicurtain or Flexiwall solutions, contact us at Westgate.

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