Metalworking fluids (MWFs) can cause adverse health effects through skin contact with contaminated materials, spray, or mist and through inhalation from breathing MWF mist or aerosol. Millions of workers engaged in the manufacture of automobiles, farm equipment, aircraft, heavy machinery,and other hardware are exposed to machining fluids.
How do I find out about employer responsibilities and workers' rights?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential On-site Consultation program to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. Consultants in this program from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
- Metalworking Fluids: Safety and Health Best Practices Manual. OSHA. Assists employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace for workers exposed to MWFs through effective prevention programs adapted to the needs and resources of each place of employment.
- Metalworking Fluids in Small Business: A Health and Safety "QUICKSTART" Guide. OSHA and Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association (ILMA) Alliance. Provides a step-by-step outline on how to work safely with metalworking fluids (MWFs) and to help small business workers effectively manage the health, safety and environmental impacts of MWFs.
- Dermal Assessment Guide. OSHA and Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association (ILMA) Alliance. Helps small businesses understand the possible connection between instances of employee dermatitis and facility operations that use metal removal fluids.