What are the Main Machine Coolant Hazards?

What are the Main Machine Coolant Hazards?

If you use machine coolants regularly, it is important that you are aware of the hazards so you can protect yourself against them. There are various ways to reduce the risks posed by them and limit operators’ exposure to it, to ensure that they are kept safe. But, first things first, what are the hazards of machine coolant?

The main hazards associated with machine coolants are the risks they can pose to operators if the correct safety precautions are not taken. These include the risk of respiratory issues if coolant mist is inhaled and dermatitis from skin contact. 

Keep reading to learn about the hazards and discover ways to minimise these risks in the future. 

Machine Coolant Hazards

If you operate machinery that uses machine coolant, there are a few hazards which you may be exposed to. If you are an employer within manufacturing and your machines use coolant, you have a legal obligation to ensure that procedures are in place to reduce the health risk that machine coolant mist can have on your operators. 

Please refer to the HSE MW005 for full details. 

Hazard 1: Inhalation of Machine Coolant Mist


The inhalation of coolant mist whilst machines are in use can aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, and also cause lung disease in operators.

Manufacturers should ensure that their machine operators have access to the correct PPE, and that all processes are enclosed and splash guards are installed to limit coolant mist. As well as this, installing a Local Exhaust Ventilation system (LEV) will remove coolant mist from CNC enclosures.

If you use machine coolant within your manufacturing processes, you can find out more about the safety precautions you should follow here.

Hazard 2: Risk of Operators Developing Skin Disease

As well as the risk to respiratory health, coolant mist can also cause various skin conditions, such as dermatitis on the hands, arms and face. It is important that operatives have access to the correct PPE:

  • Nitrile gloves: These should be worn, but only if they will not cause other issues such as entanglement in machine parts
  • Safety Goggles: These should be worn at all times, especially if machine parts are not enclosed and there is an increased risk of coolant misting. 
  • Protective Overalls: These should also be worn to protect skin on arms from misting.

Adequate wash stations should also be available for operators to access. Hand and arm washing should be encouraged before breaks, and also at the end of a shift. Thorough drying of hands and arms is also recommended as to avoid moisture and soap remaining on the skin. 


What Happens if You Breathe in Machine Coolant?

There are many risks associated with breathing in machine coolant. Occupational Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (OHP) and Occupational Asthma (OA) are the most common types of lung disease that can develop in operators as a result of inhaling coolant mist.

If operators are not protected from inhaling coolant mist, then unexplained coughing, recurring chest infections, difficulty breathing and weight loss, are all early signs that the operator could be developing lung disease. 

Operators with existing conditions such as asthma could be at risk of machine coolant mist aggravating the condition, if the mist is inhaled. 

What are the Benefits of Machine Coolant?

Whilst there are risks associated with the use of machine coolant, there are some very clear benefits too. Read below to find out more. 


Benefit  Explanation
Cooling Moving Parts Coolant circulates through CNC machines with the main purpose to cool the system down. 
Reduce Friction & Aid Lubricity Coolant can protect against extreme pressure & reduce friction.
Prevent Corrosion of Tooling Coolant can prolong the life of tooling.

Machine Coolant at Pennine Lubricants 

We’ve been blending machine coolants for over 30 years, and have developed a full range of high oil content fine milky emulsions, semi synthetic micro emulsions and fully synthetic solutions. The range has been developed to suit a wide range of materials, processes & make up water qualities.

Whatever your application, we’ve got a machine coolant to suit. Plus the extensive knowledge of our technical team means we are always on hand to offer advice and support when it comes to maintaining your coolant and complying with HSE MW05.

For more information on our machine coolant range, or to find out more about how we can help you manage the condition of yours, get in touch with us today

You can also read how we’ve helped companies just like yours take control of their coolant testing, and how our products have saved them money and increased tool life. Read our Case Studies here.

Pennine are more than just a supplier, they offer technical support and expertise. They provide full regular monitoring of metal working fluids and any aspects that support the safe use and operation of the oils and coolants we use on our site. Kevin Martin, Health & Safety Manager, Abbey Forged Products

They offer an excellent service, are polite and offer helpful advice. Mathew Kelly, Operations Manager, Barrett Steel

The communication from Pennine is great, we are always fully informed of our order status and they always deliver on time. I have been really impressed with the quality of their oil. Mark Wood, Fitter, Betney Cop Restoration Co.

We've recently changed to Pennine Lubricants, I can't thank Bob enough for the effort and service that's provided every time we order. Always happy to do business. Mylo Charlesworth, Purchasing and Warehouse Operative, CNC Rotary.com

In fifteen years of dealing with Pennine Lubricants, I have found the service to be impeccable. Jeremy Gosling, Director, Fine Grinding LTD

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