‘New guidance is published today as part of an on-going programme of work arising out of the EEF/HSE partnership programme.
This information sheet has been developed …to help those involved with welding or other processes where exposure to welding or metal fume may occur.
Its purpose is to give guidance to employers who are considering offering the pneumonia vaccine (PPV) for employees exposed to welding or metal fume who may be at risk of pneumococcal lobar pneumonia.
Terry Woolmer, Head of Health and Safety Policy for EEF said:
‘It is important to stress that welding and metal fume needs to be properly controlled.
Employers should first prioritise the control of exposure to welding and metal fume by adopting the hierarchy of control measures specified under the COSHH regulations before considering offering the pneumonia vaccine to their employees.
If fume exposure is well controlled then it is up to individual employers to decide whether or not they offer the vaccine. They may decide, for example, to limit the availability of the vaccine to exposed employees in ‘high risk’ groups such as smokers, older workers or those in a clinical risk group.
If fume exposure is not well controlled, employers cannot rely on the vaccine and must implement effective COSHH control measures.’
Notes to Editors:
1. In October 2012 the Department of Health (DOH) issued revised guidelines which recommended that employers make arrangements for the vaccination of employees exposed to welding or metal fume against pneumonia.
The DOH guidelines reported that there is an association between exposure to metal fume and pneumonia and infectious pneumonia, particularly lobar pneumonia and between welding and invasive pneumococcal disease.
The guidelines went onto say that PPV (single 0.5 ml dose in those who have not received PPV previously) should be considered for those at risk of frequent or continuous occupational exposure to metal fume (eg welders), taking into account the exposure control measures in place.
The guidelines also pointed out that although vaccination may reduce the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease it should not replace the need for measures to prevent or reduce exposure…’
Workers Health cannot provide this vaccine but we are happy to advise or answer queries from clients.