metal fluids
& oil mist Exposure Testing

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) - sometimes referred to as suds, coolants, slurry or soap


These suds, coolants, slurry or soap are water-based fluids used during the machining of metals to provide lubrication and cooling, and to help carry away debris such as swarf and fine metal particles.

Oil mists are generated when high pressure fuel oil, lubricating oil, hydraulic oil, or other oil is sprayed through a narrow crack, or when leaked oil connects with a high temperature surface, vaporises, and meets low air temperature. 

Oil mists and MWF exposure is typically associated with machine metal working due to the high level of moving parts and liquid sprays.

If the mist from oil or MWFs are either inhaled, touch unprotected skin, enter wounds or broken skin, or get access to the eyes or mouth - they could affect employee health and lead to a number of varying illnesses.

Exposure to such fluids can cause irritation of the skin, occupational asthma, bronchitis, irritation of the respiratory tract, general breathing difficulties or in extreme cases, can see individuals develop a serious lung disease called extrinsic allergic alveolitis

As an employer, you are responsible for taking effective measures to control exposure and protect health.

ActionsActions and advice

The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) have set a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 0.5mg/m3, however, levels of exposure below this standard have been found to cause ill health which means that the standards set by various bodies have no relevance to the risk of health.

In the absence of a relevant exposure limit, more emphasis should be put on controlling exposures to MWF’s via good controls and working practices which minimise exposures as low as is reasonably practicable.

Another aspect of exposure that must be considered with MWF’s is the risk from biological contamination such as Legionella.

Once an assessment has been carried out to measure the exposure levels of each target any actions should then be taken to either reduce or control exposure as part of an ongoing monitoring regime.

There are a number of good practices that can be implemented to control exposure and these should be considered.

Click here to learn more about how to reduce exposure to MWF's & Oil Mists

HelpHow can we help?

Our consultants are here to help you with advice and guidance. We offer a free consultation service to identify an exposure sampling and monitoring regime that will ensure you meet regulatory compliance and is appropriate for the type of MWF and Oils used in your organisation.

We will then provide you with a no obligation proposal to attend your premises to carryout the site exposure assessment based on the monitoring regime most appropriate for your organisation.

For further help call us on 0870 7019170 or email:


Knowledge Centre Article

Expand your knowledge on this topic by reading our informative article

Metalworking Fluids & Oil Mists - The Complete Guide
Metalworking Fluids & Oil Mists - The Complete Guide


Does your business or occupation involve using machines that require metalworking fluids or oil mist – do you know the potential risks to your employee’s health if they are exposed to them on a frequent basis?

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