537,772 active members*
3,909 visitors online*
Register for free
IndustryArena Forum > General Manufacturing Processes > Safety Zone > Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    I am a summer intern for a metal fabrication company that manufactures doors. I work in a warehouse-type environment with cutting machines and CNC machines that are used to cut the metal. As a CNC machine operator, should I be concerned about breathing in the air? I have asked my mentor and he does not think there are any severe concerns besides some allergies such as sneezing (I have noticed my allergies worsening).

    There is also no symbol indicating for a the use of respirators on the CNC machine itself. It only indicates safety goggles, gloves, and a helmet, all of which all employees wear.

    I will be using a basic dust mask today to see if it helps with the allergies. Is a dust mask enough for this type of work? What other types of masks should I I consider?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    The state of CA states that virtually everything causes cancer - look for the warnings in all you tooling catalogs and websites.

    Chris D

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Your lungs are designed to process air and not a lot else (maybe a bit of natural dust etc). You do not specify what material is being processed but be aware any composite materials (MDF, chip-board, plywood) containing bonding chemicals (glues) are far worse than natural materials such as real timbers. It's unlikely humans were designed to inhale metal based particles. Most wood processing machinery instruction manuals warn to wear breathing protection, especially those that produce fine dust particles such as sanding equipment.

    Wear breathing protection.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Metal shavings - Probably not since these are not airborne particles.

    Metal dust - Most definitely can be. For example Cadmium which is plating found on a lot of bolts is a carcinogen and OSHA has specific requirements for welding, cutting, grinding, etc . Also lungs are made to process air, not dust of any kind. If you are concerned then wearing a dust mask is probably prudent.


  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Are they cutting wet with coolant, or dry. Are the doors just plain steel, already primed/painted or another rust preventative coating? Plain steel chip hazard is pretty much just skin abrasion.

  6. #6

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Thanks for the replies. I wore a respirator today and have to say that my allergies are definitely much better. I am not sneezing and sniffling like crazy after work.

    My mentor said nothing is airborne which is why he thought that the air wouldn't be harmful. Yes, we do use coolants while machining.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Metal is not a hazard (with obvious exceptions such as cadmium etc).

    But those coolant oils are a KNOWN hazard. They cause dermatitis with skin contact; I would imagine the vapours are also a hazard. The bacterial growth they develop may be even worse.
    I switched to MQL using, basically, olive oil. A 1 L bottle lasts me for years.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Hi guys. I'm in industrial hygienist and can answer specific questions about the hazards of the materials you may be exposed to as well as the types of respirators that would be effective. Feel free to PM me or ask on the forum.

    There are many metals that are hazardous. Cadmium is one of them. Exposures to certain metals can cause cancer. Metal sensitization can occur as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Re: Are Metal Shavings / Dust Hazardous?

    Anyone know if cast iron dust is particularly harmful?
    We often use coolant (Hocut795 @5%) when milling it, but even then there is still a mixture of coolant mist and cast iron dust. There is no system for ventilation on the machine.

Similar Threads

  1. WANTED: metal shavings
    By JeannetteLac in forum Want To Buy...Need help!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-06-2020, 08:59 PM
  2. Separating Metal shavings in waste water?
    By buylowsellhigh in forum General MetalWork Discussion
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-14-2013, 05:14 AM
  3. Metal dust
    By ozzie34231 in forum General MetalWork Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-25-2007, 09:12 PM
  4. Hazardous Material?
    By Geof in forum Safety Zone
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-23-2006, 06:48 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts