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Stallard Kane supports the HSE’s new Metalwork Inspections

The HSE has announced that they will be carrying out inspections of manufacturing businesses that use metalworking fluids or coolants in their machining processes. Inspectors will focus on how employers are ensuring workers are protected from exposure to fluid or mist generated by computer numerical control (CNC) machines, and that regular health checks are in place.

Understanding the new Metalwork Inspections Initiative

Metalworking fluid is a hazardous substance that comes under COSHH regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002). Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause harm to lungs and skin through inhalation or direct contact with unprotected skin, particularly hands, forearms and face. Breathing in the mist generated by machining can lead to lung diseases such as occupational asthma and occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Employers have a legal duty to protect their workers' lung and skin health, making it imperative to act promptly. These inspections have already begun, and will continue until March 2024.

There are three areas where manufacturing companies, particularly smaller companies, commonly fall down on compliance:

  • Not having Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV): to reduce exposure you need control measures in place. LEV should be fitted on CNC machines to carry away any harmful metalworking fluid mist, which is difficult to see in normal lighting.
  • Not completing regular fluid quality checks: fluid quality should be regularly checked, focusing on concentration, pH, bacteria and contaminants. Fluid systems can become highly contaminated with harmful bacteria.
  • Not providing regular health checks for lung and skin conditions: where there is exposure to fluid or mist, it is a legal requirement to carry out health surveillance even when preventative controls are in place. You will need to involve an occupational health professional and workers should be encouraged to report any health symptoms that occur.

How we can help:  Ensuring Effective Control Measures

LEV Testing and Inspection

When correctly fitted and maintained, Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems should prevent employees breathing in dangerous substances by carrying away any harmful impurities in the air; this must be tested on a regular basis, along with system inspections.

Find out more by visiting our LEV page.

Face Fit Testing

To optimise protection against hazardous materials, conducting face fit testing on Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is crucial. Our experienced trainers are competent in performing accurate and reliable RPE fit tests. By ensuring a tight fit of the facepiece, we help prevent leaks and guarantee the utmost safety for workers with diverse roles and physical characteristics.

Find out more by visiting our Face Fit Testing page.

Occupational Health Assessments

Early identification of ill-health effects is vital for implementing better control measures. Our comprehensive occupational health assessments help identify potential health risks in the workplace, provide a robust way of measuring the effectiveness of existing control measures, and offer tailored strategies for improvement. Spirometry, otherwise known as Lung Function Testing, carried out on a regular basis will give you the information you require about your employees’ lung capacity. Used on an ongoing basis it will help not only to diagnose but also monitor lung conditions and the impact certain exposures may have on your employees.

Find out more by visiting our Occupational Health Assessments page.

How we can help:  Ensuring Effective Knowledge

Workplace Exposure Monitoring

Compliance with regulations and protecting employees from hazardous substances, such as chemicals, fumes, dust and vapours, is essential. Our workplace exposure monitoring services assist you in mitigating risks and providing regulatory compliance. We also provide guidance on noise and vibration hazards, helping you prevent long-term health issues like noise-induced hearing loss and hand-arm vibration syndrome.

Find out more by visiting our Workplace Exposure Monitoring page.

Training and Education

Equipping employers and workers with the necessary knowledge and skills is paramount to controlling exposure to metalworking fluids effectively. We offer various training courses designed to raise awareness and promote best practices, including a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) extended toolbox talk. We offer UK-wide training options that can be created bespoke for your business and delivered virtually, on site, or at one of our accredited course centres. Our expert trainers cater to the specific needs of different industries and roles.

Find out more by visiting our Training page.

The new Metalwork Inspections initiative highlights the critical importance of controlling exposure to metalworking fluids and protecting workers' lung and skin health.

Stallard Kane is a supporter of this initiative, and we provide essential services and courses to help businesses fulfil their legal obligations and create a safe working environment. By using our LEV, face fit testing, occupational health assessments, workplace exposure monitoring and training solutions, you can protect the wellbeing of your employees and contribute to a healthier future.

Act now to protect your future and ensure the safety of your workforce.

Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of services and courses. Together, we’ll build a safer and healthier workplace environment.

To find out more information or discuss your training needs, talk to our Training Team by calling 01427 420 405 or email

To find out more information or to get a no obligation quote, call our Compliance Team on 01427 420 404 or email /


The information and any commentary contained within these updates are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice. Stallard Kane does not accept and, to the extent permitted by law, exclude liability to any person for any loss which may arise from relying upon or otherwise using the information contained in these blogs. If you have a particular query or issue, you are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice about your issue and not to rely solely on the information or comments in these updates.
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