Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:42

Pest Exterminator

Synonyms: Applicator, pesticides; exterminator; exterminator, vermin and rodent; fumigator and sterilizer; pest-control worker; scout (agriculture); sprayer, pesticides; sprayer/duster, pesticides

Job profile

Definition and/or description


An Exterminator (business ser.) sprays chemical solutions or toxic gases and sets mechanical traps to kill pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas. Fumigates rooms and buildings, using toxic gases. Sprays chemical solutions or dusts powders in rooms and work areas. Places poisonous paste or bait and mechanical traps where pests are present. May clean areas that harbour pests, using rakes, brooms, shovels, and mops, preparatory to fumigating. May be required to hold state licence. May be designated according to type of pest eliminated as Rodent Exterminator (business ser.) (DOT).

Related and specific occupations


Agricultural aircraft pilot (airplane pilot, cropdusting; aerial applicator, pilot; or pest-control, pilot); agricultural-chemicals inspector; autoclave operator; exterminator helper; hand-spray operator; herbicide worker/handler; insecticide mixer (chemical); insect-sprayer, mobile unit; mosquito sprayer; pasteurizer; pesticide-control inspector; pesticide maker; sanitarian-exterminator; sprayer, insecticide; sprayer hand (agriculture); sterilizer-operator (beverages; –/ dairy products; –/ feathers; –/ medical services; etc.); supervisor, extermination; supervisor, insect and disease inspection; termite-treater; weed-inspector (DOT); agricultural worker exposed to pesticide residues (gardener, nursery or greenhouse worker); field fumigator; pesticide ground-applicator; pesticide mixer and/or loader; pesticide store worker; pilot flagger to aircraft, etc.



Adding (chemicals); advising (customers); analysing; applying; assisting; authorizing; baiting; blending; bolting; boring; briefing (workers, etc.); burning (weeds); calculating; calling; carrying; checking; clamping; cleaning; climbing; collecting; confiscating; controlling; coordinating; crawling; cutting; destroying; detecting; determining; digging; directing; discharging (gases); distributing; drilling; driving; dusting; eliminating; ensuring; estimating; evaluating; examining; exterminating; fastening; filing; flushing; fogging; formulating (pesticide mixtures); fumigating; gassing; gauging; hammering; handling; identifying; igniting; impregnating (soil); initiating; injecting; inserting; inspecting; installing; instructing; interviewing; investigating; isolating; issuing; keeping; killing; laying (blocks); loading and unloading; locating; maintaining; manipulating (levers); marking; measuring; mixing; modifying; moving; notifying; observing; obtaining; opening; operating; padlocking; painting; performing; piloting; placing; pointing (nozzle); poisoning; positioning; posting; pouring; preparing; preventing; producing; pulling and pushing; pumping; quarantining; raising; recommending; recording; releasing; removing; replacing; reporting; reviewing; sampling; sawing; sealing; searching; securing; selecting; setting; shooting; signalling; spraying; spreading; sterilizing; studying; supervising; surveying; taping; teaching; tending (machines); transferring; transporting; trapping; treating; turning; updating; using; visiting; weighing; wrapping.


Accident hazards


– Increased risk of road accidents due to lengthy periods of driving heavily loaded vehicles, frequently towing trailers and mechanical spraying equipment, on deteriorated field roads and under unfavourable weather conditions;

– Hazards associated with a flight aboard light aircraft (including helicopters) at low altitude (typical for pest exterminators engaged in aerial operations), including aircraft crashes, exposure to pesticides carried into the cockpit onto clothes and footwear, or during accidental flying through a cloud of sprayed pesticides (drift cloud); as a result of leakage from hoppers, etc.;

– Hazards to ground personnel engaged in aerial pesticide application (loaders, flagmen, agricultural workers, etc.), including risk of being struck by aircraft during take-off, landing, taxiing or low altitude flight; accidental exposure to pesticides as a result of pesticide-loaded aircraft crash, leakage from hoppers, etc.;

– Risk of being hit by a train while exterminating pests between the rails of a railroad;

– Slips, trips, falls and bumps (on slippery surfaces and at obstacles, especially while wearing protective mask limiting the field of vision); falls of exterminator-helper from the towed equipment; falls from elevated platforms and stairs, especially when carrying containers and other heavy loads;

– Falls of heavy loads, especially containers, on workers’ feet;

– Stabs and cuts caused by sharp objects;

– Stepping on sharp discarded objects while carrying out spraying work in the field;

– Bursting of overpressurized spraying vessels, resulting in pesticide splashes capable of hitting the operator;

– Hazard of snake bites or wasp and bee stings while carrying out spraying work in the field;

– Risk of hernia as a result of overstrenuous movements when lifting and loading heavy loads;

– Acute poisoning while applying pesticides (especially as a result of inhaling aerosols while not wearing protective mask; could be fatal), or as a result of spills and fires during transportation and storage of pesticides;

– Accidental contamination or poisoning of exterminators during the process of mixing extremely concentrated and highly hazardous pesticides;

– Splashes of pesticides on face and/or hands while preparing pesticide formulations;

– Accidental inhalation of pesticide spray (caused by a sudden change of wind, or by a poorly selected and maintained protective mask, etc.);

– Risk of incidental swallowing of a liquid pesticide mistakenly thought to be water, or of pesticide-polluted irrigation water (may occasionally happen to agricultural workers and particularly to children, not directly engaged in the extermination work but present at its site), or as a result of incidental contact with, or use of, discarded and empty pesticide containers;

– Skin burns as a result of excessive exposure of unprotected skin to pesticides (e.g., to diquat dibromide solutions);

– Electric shocks caused by contact with defective electromechanical equipment;

– Electric hazards while exterminating pests around power line pylons;

– Acute intoxication as a result of release into the atmosphere of hazardous compounds (e.g., HCN, SO2, NOx) during accidental (fires or explosions) or intentional (owing to poor judgment) burning of pesticides or pesticide containers at manufacturing, storing, formulating, and similar establish-ments, or at application sites;

– Skin and eye irritation, chest tightness, nausea, limb numbness, asphyxia, etc., in firefighters engaged in extinguishing pesticide-involved fires.

Physical hazards


– Risk of electrocution from electrical power lines, while spraying pesticides on agricultural fields;

– Exposure to direct and reflected ultraviolet (solar) radiation while working outdoors, possibly leading to erythema, skin cancer, cataracts and photokeratitis;

– Exposure to potentially health-detrimental climatic factors (resulting in effects ranging from temperature dis- comfort to heat stroke) while working outdoors.

Chemical hazards


– Severe intoxication (not acute) due to exposure to various pesticides that may result in disease, disability or death;

– Various skin effects (itching, erythema, blistering, irritation, sensitization, photosensitization, etc.) as a result of exposure to vapours, spray and gaseous forms of pesticides, especially through direct skin contact (e.g., blisters and itching from methyl bromide; erythema from synthetic pyrethroid; urticaria from diethyl fumarate, etc.);

– Contact and systemic dermatoses in pesticide workers, including gardeners and farmers, veterinarians, fruit and vegetable handlers (contacting pesticide residues), and especially from contact with organic phosphorous pesticides (OPP) and cyano pyrethroids;

– Chloracne and porphyria-cutana-tarda as a result of contact with chlorinated pesticides;

– Eye irritation in pesticide sprayers (e.g., while spraying OPP);

– Eye cataracts as a result of exposure to diquat dibromide;

– Corneal and conjunctival injuries caused by insect repellents;

– Mouth and throat irritation and burns (in sprayers);

– Ulcers of the mouth (in gardener sprayers engaged in diluting carbamates);

– Asphyxia caused by OPP and carbamates (in agricultural sprayers);

– Various pulmonary diseases, including lung oedema, pneumonitis, asthmatic reactions, alveolitis, pneumoconiosis (from pesticide dusting), etc.;

– Various gastrointestinal effects, including abdominal pains, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, giddiness, headaches, reduced and/or lost consciousness, seizures, coma, etc.;

– Nervous system disorders, including neurotoxicity, postural instability, neuropathy, neuro-behavioural effects, effects on cognitive functions, anxiety, insomnia, etc. (caused by exposure to pesticides, especially to OPP);

– Disorders of endocrine and reproductive systems, including infertility, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, sterility, congenital defects, embryo- and foetotoxicity effects, perinatal death, etc.;

– Effects on blood and circulatory system, caused by exposure to pesticides, especially to chlorinated hydrocarbons;

– Musculoskeletal and soft tissue problems in pesticide users;

– Other systemic effects caused by exposure to various pesticides;

– Carcinogenic effects, including cancer of bladder, brain, liver, lung, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, testicles, etc., malignant lymphomas, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and numerous other forms of carcinogenic and mutagenic effects.

Biological hazards


Risk of being infected by zoonotic diseases transmitted by fleas or other insects during extermination work.

Ergonomic and social factors


– Back pains in hand-spray workers;

– Acute musculoskeletal injuries caused by physical overexertion and awkward posture while carrying and otherwise handling containers and heavy pieces of equipment;

– Tiredness and general ill feeling;

– Psychological stress resulting from the fears of potential overexposure to pesticides and of failing the compulsory periodical health check-ups;

– Development of lumbago caused by vibrations, inadequate vehicle suspension, uncomfortable seat, wet and/or humid working conditions, etc.


International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 1991. Occupational Exposures in Insecticide Application and Some Pesticides. IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol. 53. Lyon: IARC.

International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS). 1995. International Safety Datasheets on Occupations. Steering Committee meeting, 9-10 March. Geneva: ILO. (Classified under “Laboratory Animal Raiser”.)

World Health Organization (WHO). 1990. Principles for the Toxicological Assessment of Pesticide Residues in Food. Environmental Health Criteria Series 104. Geneva: WHO.


List of common pesticides:

– Aldrin

– Aldicarb

– Amitrole

– Arsenic

– Atrazine

– Azinphos (methyl)

– Captan

– Carbaryl

– Chlordane

– Chloropicrin

– Chlorpyrifos

– Copper sulphate

– 2,4-D


– Diazinon

– Dichlorvos

– Dieldryn

– Diquat

– Endosulphan

– Endrin

– Ethion

– Ethylene dibromide

– Fenamiphos

– Fensulphothion

– Fenthion

– Fonophos

– Furfural

– Heptachlor

– Lindane

– Malathion

– Methyl bromide

– Mevinphos

– Paraquat

– Parathion

– Pentachlorophenol

– Permethrin

– Pyrethrum

– Rotenone

– Sodium fluoroacetate

– Systox (2,4,5-T)

– Temephos


– Thallium

– Thiram

– Warfarin



Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:52


Synonyms: Installator; pipefitter; pipelayer; pipeline maintenance and repair worker

Job profile

Definition and/or description


Assembles, installs and repairs metal, plastic, ceramic and other pipes, fittings and fixtures of heating, water and drainage systems. Cuts openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and fittings, using hand- and power-tools. Cuts and threads pipe using pipecutters, cutting torch and pipe-threading machine. Bends pipe by hand or by using pipe-bending machine. Assembles and installs valves, pipes and fittings. Joins pipes by use of screw, bolts, fittings, adhesive, solder, braze and caulks joints. Installs and repairs plumbing fixtures such as sinks, commodes, bathtubs, hot water tanks, tank heaters, dishwashers, water softeners, garbage disposal units, etc. Opens clogged drains. Mends burst pipes. Replaces washers in leaky faucets. Secures pipes and fixtures with brackets, clamps and hangers; may weld holding fixtures to steel structural members. May operate equipment for locating leaks, test pipes and other plumbing fixtures for structural integrity, etc. May insulate piping or water tanks in hot-water or steam-supply systems.



Aligning; assembling; bending and straightening; boring; bracing; brazing; breaking (walls, floors); burning (old insulation or coatings); carrying (pipes, fixtures, equipment); caulking; cementing; chiselling; clamping; cleaning; coating (pipes); connecting; covering; cutting (pipes and fittings or opening in walls and floors); digging; dipping; ditching; dismantling; draining; drilling; driving; dumping; emptying; excavating; fastening; filing; filling; fitting; flame cutting; fixing; gluing; hammering; heating; immersing; installing, insulating; joining; jointing; laying; levelling; lifting; loading and unloading; locating (leaks, pipe position); loosening; marking and measuring; maintaining; mending; operating (tools); opening; painting; positioning; pouring (cements); pulling and pushing; pumping; repairing; replacing; rubbing; sanding; sawing; screwing; scrubbing; securing; sealing; setting; shovelling; siphoning; smoothing; soldering; spraying (coatings, paint); spreading (mortar); squeezing; taping; tapping; testing (for leaks); threading; tightening; transporting; trimming; welding; wrapping; wrenching.

Primary equipment used


Borers; chisels; drills; hammers; headlamps; leak-detecting instruments; pipe-bending machine; pipe-threading machine; pliers; saws; screw-drivers; shears; shovels; wrenches. Some of the tools may be battery- or mains-operated.

Industries in which this occupation is common


Agriculture; boilermaking and maintenance; chemical and related industries; construction (including building repair and maintenance); industrial equipment manufacturing; laboratories; municipal services; pipeline (including water, gas, oil, etc. supply lines) construction and maintenance; shipbuilding; water-heating equipment manufacturing; water desalination.


Accident hazards


– Falls from height (from ladders, scaffolds and roofs); falls into ditches;

– Falls on level surfaces (slips and falls on wet and slippery surfaces);

– Injuries (and possible asphyxiation) as a result of cave-in of ditches;

– Cuts, stabs, pinches, bruises and finger crushing from hand tools and machinery;

– Cuts and stabs from broken sanitary china;

– Blows on the head from pipes, overhead bars, corners, etc., in particular in confined spaces or in low-ceiling cellars and passages;

– Foreign particles in the eyes, in particular during drilling or insulation (dismantling work);

– Injuries to feet from falling tools or pipe sections;

– Burns from hot or corrosive liquids emitted from burst pipes or connections;

– Burns from portable blowtorches used for soldering and brazing;

– Electric shock and electrocution from portable lamps and electric tools;

– Fires and explosions as a result of using mobile electric lamps or tools in confined spaces (e.g., inside cisterns) containing combustible-gas residues;

– Drowning in accidental flooding of pumping stations (water, sewage);

– Sprains and damage to internal organs (e.g., hernia, bursting of small blood vessels) as a result of overexertion;

– Bites and stings by rodents, insects, mites, etc.;

– Poisoning by phosgene released from chlorinated solvents at high temperatures (e.g., in the presence of flames, arcs, burning cigarettes, etc.), particularly in confined spaces;

– Poisoning by toxic gases released in sewage systems (e.g., sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, indole, etc.).

Chemical hazards


– Contact dermatitis from exposure to various components of drainage and sewage liquids, from exposure to solvents and other components from glues and pipe cleaning fluids (especially when working with plastic piping);

– Irritation of the respiratory system and the eyes from exposure to acids, alkalis and various proprietary corrosive liquids used to unclog piping;

– Oxygen deficiency or exposure to asphyxiant gases when working in confined (e.g., crawl) spaces;

– Irritation of respiratory tract and possible damage to the lungs from exposure to asbestos, mineral fibres and other inorganic aerosols or fibres when applying or dismantling piping insulation or asbestos pipes.

Biological hazards


Exposure to a wide variety of micro-organisms, parasites, etc., in sewage, stagnant water (especially stagnant warm water), sanitary installations, etc., with risk of legionnaires’ disease, giardiasis, cutaneous Larra migrans dermatitis, etc.

Ergonomic and social factors


– Exposure to excessive damp, cold and heat (e.g., in cellars, or in construction, agriculture and other field work);

– Lower back pain;

– Heat stress when wearing vapour-barrier suits;

– Wrist problems due to overexertion in threading and cutting work; calluses on the knees (“plumber’s knee”) because of prolonged work in a kneeling posture.




  1. Increased risks have been reported, in the case of plumbers, of leptospirosis; bronchial carcinoma; liver cirrhosis; lung cancer; cancer of the oesophagus; oral and oropharyngeal cancer; liver cancer; non-Hodgkins lymphoma; laryngeal cancer; pleural mesothelioma; cancer of the tongue; prostate cancer.
  2. When working in laboratories, in the chemical industry, or in sewage systems, plumbers are exposed to all the chemical and biological hazards relevant for those workplaces. In welding, brazing or soldering operations, plumbers are exposed to all hazards of welders, solderers and brazers. In gluing work, plumbers are exposed to the hazards of gluers.



Wednesday, 06 April 2011 20:01


Synonyms: Sanitary inspector; sanitation inspector; sanitation supervisor; environmental technician; pollution-control technician (DOT). Also: public-health inspector; environmental-health inspector; environmental-quality inspector; environmental technician/engineering aid; registered/certified sanitarian

Job profile

Definition and/or description


Plans, develops and executes environmental health programme; organizes and conducts training programme in environmental health practices for schools and other groups; determines and sets health and sanitation standards and enforces regulations concerned with food processing and serving, collection and disposal of solid wastes, sewage treatment and disposal, plumbing, vector control, recreational areas, hospitals and other institutions, noise, ventilation, air pollution, radiation and other areas; confers with government, community, industrial, civil defence and private organizations to interpret and promote environmental health programmes; collaborates with other health personnel in epidemiological investigations and control. Advises civic and other officials in development of environmental health laws and regulations (DOT).

Related and specific occupations


Sanitary engineer; public-health engineer; environmental engineer; food and drug inspector; exterminator; mosquito sprayer (DOT).



Analysing; assembling and installing; burning (of garbage, etc.); calculating; catching (insects, rodents, etc.); checking; constructing; controlling; designing; determining (quantities, treatment techniques, etc.); developing; digging; disinfecting; disposing; disseminating (information); distributing (information or training material); driving; educating; enforcing; estimating (quantities); eradicating (pests); evaluating; examining; executing; exterminating; guiding; handling; improving (control techniques, etc.); inspecting; investigating; measuring; operating; planning; preventing; questioning; reporting; sampl- ing; sanitizing; spraying; supervising; surveying; testing; transferring; warning; witnessing.

Auxiliary tasks

Administering; advising; answering; applying; assisting; collaborating; collecting; compiling; computing; coordinating; discussing; filing; fixing; initiating; instructing; interpreting; lecturing; negotiating; organizing; participating (in committees, programmes, etc.); promoting; reviewing; scheduling; standardizing; teaching; training; writing.


Accident hazards


– Slips, trips and falls from ladders, stairs, elevated platforms, etc., during field visits of plants and throughout inspection operations;

– Falls into open pits and manholes while inspecting water and sewage systems;

– Acute poisoning by gases (e.g., sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide) during inspection and cleaning of sewage systems;

– Acute poisoning resulting from operation and handling of drinking water and swimming-pool chlorination and bromination equipment and containers;

– Acute poisoning caused by use of various pesticides (see Appendix) throughout pest control/extermination operations;

– Burns resulting from garbage-burning operations and from operating incinerators;

– Relatively high risk of being involved in road accidents as a result of extensive and frequent driving on badly kept roads and off-roads;

– Electrical shock resulting from work with mechanized and electrical field equipment;

– Fires and explosions caused by flammable and explosive substances (e.g., solvents, gasoline, etc.).

Physical hazards


– Exposure to excessive noise (relevant for sanitarians engaged in industrial hygiene, heating and ventilation systems and in inspection of “noisy” industries such as the heavy industries, the textile industry and printing);

– Exposure to ionizing radiation (relevant for sanitarians engaged in control and supervision of radioisotope usage, x-ray equipment and radioactive wastes);

– Exposure to non-ionizing radiation (e.g., in water sterilization by UV);

– Exposure to extreme climatic conditions while working in the field.

Chemical hazards


– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to various toxic materials, such as pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, algicides, nematocides, etc.), their vapours and aerosols throughout extermination operations or disposal of containers with toxic pesticide residues;

– Contact with strong oxidants, especially chlorine compounds used for disinfection of drinking water and swimming pools;

– Toxic gases present in sewage systems or in industrial plants with inadequate ventilation systems;

– Dermatites and eczemas resulting from contact with various oils and solvents used for pest control, garbage- burning operations or other chemicals commonly used in sanitary laboratories.

Biological hazards


– Exposure to various micro-organisms while working with liquid or solid wastes;

– Bites and stings by various insects (e.g., bees, flies, fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes and wasps), snakes, scorpions, rodents, etc., during field and laboratory work;

– Risk of contracting infectious diseases while working in hospitals.

Ergonomic and social factors


– Physical and/or verbal assault while carrying out sanitary inspections of buildings, businesses, shops, etc.

– Attempts of those subjected to inspection to file unwarranted complaints which result in psychological stress, nervousness, etc.



Freedman, B. 1977. Sanitarian’s Handbook, 4th edition. New Orleans, LA: Peerless Publishing Co.

Last, JM and RB Wallace (eds.). 1992. Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 13th edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Tchobanoglous, G and FL Burton. 1991. Metcalf & Eddy Wastewater Engineering—Treatment, Disposal, and Reuse, 3rd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Principal chemicals to which sanitarians may be exposed:

– Acids

– Activated carbon

– Alcohols

– Aldrin

– Allethrin


– Asbestos

– Benzene hexachloride

– Bichloride of mercury

– Borax

– Boric acid

– Bromine

– Cadaverine

– Calcium cyanide

– Calcium hypochlorite

– Carbamates

– Carbolic acid

– Carbon monoxide

– Carbon disulphide

– Chloramines

– Chlordane

– Chlorinated hydrocarbons

– Chlorine

– Chlorine dioxide

– Copper sulfate

– Cresol

– Crude oil

– Cyanides



– Detergents

– Diatomaceous earth

– Diazinon

– Dieldrin

– Diesel oil

– Dioxin

– Dipterex

– Disinfectants

– Fluorides

– Fluorine

– Formaldehyde

– Fuel oils

– Fumigants

– Fungicides

– Heptachlor

– Herbicides

– Hexametaphosphate

– Hydrocyanic acid

– Hydrofluoric acid

– Hydrogen sulphide

– Indol

– Iodine

– Kerosene

– Larvicides

– Lime

– Lindane

– Malathion

– Methoxychlor

– Mineral acids

– Nitrates

– Nitric acid

– Organic acids

– Organic phosphates (polyphosphates)

– Orthotolidine

– Ozone

– Parathion

– Pesticides

– Phenol

– Pine oil

– Pival

– Potassium permanganate

– Pyrethrum

– Quaternary ammonium compounds

– Rodenticides

– Skatole

– Soaps

– Sulphur dioxide

– Sulphuric acid

– Warfarin

– Xylene

– Zeolites



Wednesday, 06 April 2011 20:12

Solderer and Brazer

Synonyms: Soldering equipment operator; hard-solderer; silver-solderer; brazer-assembler; brazier

Job profile

Definition and/or description


Joins metal parts by means of a fusible alloy (“solder” or “braze”; see Note 1). A solderer/brazer selects and sets up manual or automatic soldering equipment and materials according to work specifications. Examines and prepares parts to be joined by cleaning, degreasing (may use ultrasonic degreaser), brushing, filing and other means. Clamps workpieces into position for soldering. Switches on and controls electric current or gas-flame. Cleans soldering iron tip. Applies fluxes, soldering iron tip, torch or flame, solder wire, etc. to the workpieces. Examines soldered pieces for quality and adherence to specifications. Cleans surface of the soldered workpiece to remove flux and solder residues. May melt and separate soldered joints to repair or reuse parts.



Adjusting (flow, pressure, etc.); aligning; annealing; applying (fluxes); arc cutting; arc welding; assembling and disassembling; bending; bolting; bonding; brazing; brushing; calculating (current); clamping; cleaning (surfaces); connecting (hoses; cables); controlling; cutting; degreasing; dipping; examining (quality of joint); filing; filling; fixing; flame cutting; fusing; grinding; guiding (rod along the flame); hammering; handling; heat treating; heating and preheating; holding; igniting; installing; inserting; joining; knocking (welds); laying-out; lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; marking; melting; mending; mounting; moving; placing; polishing; positioning; preparing; rebrazing; removing (residues); repairing; screwing and unscrewing; securing; selecting (tools, materials); separating; servicing; setting up; soldering; sprinkling; straightening; switching (on and off); timing (controls); tinning; torching; touching up.

Industries in which this occupation is common


Soldering and brazing, as full- or part-time occupations, are encountered in a very large number of manufacturing industries, workshops, technical services, research institutions, etc., such as, for example, all electrical and electronic manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and repair; air conditioning and refrigeration; manufacture of metal boxes, housings, storage tanks and containers; gas and chemicals supply lines; radiator manufacturing and repair (car and home-heating); jewellery manufacturing; artwork; tinker shops in research institutions; musical instruments manufacturing and repair; dental labouratories; many “cottage” industries, etc.


Accident hazards


– Blows, in particular on feet, from the fall of heavy workpieces, pipe sections, etc.;

– Cuts and stabs, in particular on the fingers, from sharp edges, protrusions, files (or other instruments) during the preparation of workpieces for soldering, and during the cleaning of the soldered product;

– Damage to eyes as a result of penetration of solid particles (particularly when using rotary wire brushes or abrasive wheels for cleaning), or molten metal, flux droplets, or droplets of cleaning solutions into the eyes;

– Electrocution or electric shock when using electrical soldering equipment;

– Skin burns from contact with hot surfaces, flames and splashes of hot solder or fluxes;

– Fires, as a result of ignition of flammable solvents and other substances, by the soldering flame or by sparks;

– Fire and explosions, particularly when using oxyacetylene, air-propane and other blow-torch processes;

– Chemical burns as a result of splashes of corrosive chemicals used in metal cleaning, in particular strong acids or mixtures of acids and oxidizing solutions (e.g., sulphuric/nitric or sulphuric/chromic acid mixtures), or metal-cleaning creams, etc.

– Acute (and sometimes fatal) poisoning by phosgene and other poisonous gases formed from chlorinated solvents in contact with a high-temperature source, in particular during brazing.

Physical hazards


– Exposure of eyes to strong light emitted during certain high-temperature brazing processes;

– Heat rashes as a result of continuous exposure of skin to heat from the soldering and brazing processes.

Chemical hazards


– Skin allergies as a result of exposure to solvents, to rosin (colophony), hydrazine, aminoethanolamines, and activators in fluxes;

– Ulceration (and other dermatological problems) of fingertips due to the handling of metal pieces and exposure to fluxes;

– Rashes and dermatitis, especially when using liquid fluxes;

– Irritation of eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract as a result of exposure to aerosols and gases evolved in acid-cleaning processes (e.g., nitrogen oxides);

– Irritation of eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract as a result of exposure to flux components or to their decomposition products released during the soldering (e.g., hydrochloric acid, zinc and ammonium chlorides), fluorides, formaldehyde (formed in the pyrolysis of core solder), fluoroborates, rosin, hydrazine salts, etc., or to ozone and nitrogen oxides formed in air during certain high-temperature brazing processes;

– Neurotoxic disturbances as a result of exposure to aliphatic, aromatic and chlorinated solvents used in metal cleaning;

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to a variety of poisonous metals present in the solder, most commonly lead, cadmium, zinc, antimony and indium (and in particular to their fumes released during the soldering) or exposure to poisonous metals in the dross and drippings from soldering operations;

– Adverse coronary effects as a result of chronic inhalation of small amounts of carbon monoxide in certain flame-soldering operations;

– Poisoning by substances released during the cleaning or soldering/brazing of painted workpieces (e.g., isocyanates).

Ergonomic and social factors


– Heat stress due to exposure to a hot environment;

– Fatigue and muscular pains due to repetitive work, especially when working overtime;

– Eye strain when working under inadequate illumination;

– Leg fatigue when working long hours in a standing posture.




  1. The process is called “soldering” when the solder has a melting point below 426 °C, and “brazing” or “hard soldering” (different terms may be used in different countries) when the solder has a higher melting point. Manual soldering processes include electric-iron, gas-flame, torch, chemical-cartridge and gas-heated iron soldering, as well as dip tinning; automatic processes include dip-, flow-, wave- and spray-gun soldering.
  2. According to published reports, solderers and brazers may be at increased risk of spontaneous abortions in the case of pregnant woman solderers; increased risk of bronchial asthma and hyperreactivity due to exposure to soldering fumes and gases, particularly to rosin (colophony) fumes and decomposition products, and to tetrafluorides.



National Safety Council (NSC). 1994. Soldering and Brazing. Datasheet 445-Rev-94. Washington, DC: NSC.



Wednesday, 06 April 2011 20:16


Synonym: Fusion welder

Job profile

Definition and/or description


Joins metal parts by various processes in which the surface layers of the metals are in most cases heated to fusion, with or without pressure; the main groups of welding processes are electric-arc (including metal-arc, inert-gas shielded arc, flux cored arc, plasma arc and submerged arc), gas-flame (including oxyacetylene, oxyhydrogen), resistance, electron-beam, induction, laser-beam, thermit, electroslag and solid-state (friction, explosion, diffusion, ultrasonic and cold) welding. Selects and sets up manual or automatic welding equipment and materials according to work specifi- cations or supervisor’s instructions. Examines and prepares surfaces to be joined by cleaning, degreasing, brushing, filing, grinding and other means. Positions workpieces. Adjusts valves or electric switches to control flow of gases, electric current, etc. Ignites or turns off gas-flame, electric arc, thermit mixture or other source of heat. Guides and applies flame, electrode, filler rod, laser-beam, etc. to the workpieces. Examines welded joint for quality or adherence to specifications.

Related and specific occupations


Thermal cutter (flame cutting, arc cutting, electron-beam cutting); weld surfacer; spark-erosion machine operator.



Adjusting (flow, pressure, etc.); aligning; annealing; applying (fluxes); arc cutting; arc welding; assembling and disassembling; bending; bolting; bonding; brazing; brushing; calculating (current); chipping (excess metal); clamping; cleaning (surfaces); connecting (hoses and cables); controlling; cutting; degreasing; dipping; dressing (electrodes); examining (quality of joint); filing; filling; fixing; flame cutting; fusing; grinding; guiding (rod along the flame); hammering; handling; heat treating; heating and preheating; holding; igniting; installing; inserting; joining; knocking (welds); laying-out; lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; marking; melting; mending; mounting; moving; placing; polishing; positioning; preparing; rebrasing; removing (residues); repairing; scarfing (welds); screwing and unscrewing; securing; selecting (tools, materials); separating; servicing; setting up; soldering; sprinkling; straightening; switching (on and off); timing (controls); tinning; torching; touching up; weld-surfacing; welding.


Accident hazards


– Falls from height, particularly in construction work;

– Blows from falls of heavy metal parts, gas cylinders, etc.;

– Cuts and stabs from sharp metal edges, etc.;

– Burns from hot metal surfaces, flames, flying sparks, molten metal droplets, thermal radiation, etc.;

– Foreign particles into the eyes. This is a very common risk, and flying particles may enter the eyes even after the welding flame or arc is extinguished;

– Penetration of molten metal droplets or sparks into ears (particularly in overhead welding);

– Fires ignited by flying sparks, flames, red-hot metal etc. A special fire hazard exists when the surrounding atmosphere becomes enriched in oxygen; ignition becomes much easier (e.g., clothes may catch fire and lubricants and solvents are readily ignited);

– Dust explosions during welding in premises in which flour, grain dust, etc., are present;

– Injection of flying metal particles into the skin (face, neck and hands);

– Tyre explosions during welding of vehicle wheels;

– Ignition and explosion of hydrogen (produced by corrosion processes) and various residual combustible gases in mixtures with air in closed vessels;

– Acute poisoning by phosgene formed from chlorinated hydrocarbons which are used to clean the metal, or as paint, glue and other solvents, or by hazardous gases generated during welding, in particular ozone, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides;

– Electrocution or electric shocks in all processes using electric current; a particular hazard exists from transient overvoltages, or when using more than one power supply at the same time;

– Ignition of clothes in processes using gas-oxygen mixtures, if the surrounding air is enriched (“sweetened”) accidentally or intentionally with oxygen, in particular if clothes are soiled with oils or grease;

– Fires or explosions within the welding system (pipes, acetylene generator) in gas-oxygen flame-welding processes, in particular because of flame flashbacks or backfire due to faulty equipment or human error;

– Fires and explosions from improper handling of calcium carbide or acetylene in oxyacetylene welding;

– Trapping of clothing, fingers, hair, arms, etc., in automatic (“robotic”) welders.

Physical hazards


– Exposure to excessive noise levels;

– Exposure to excessive heat or cold, in particular in construction work;

– Exposure to x or gamma rays during weld inspection by radiography;

– Exposure to x rays from electron-beam welding machines;

– Chronic damage to eyes, skin drying and other skin problems (“heat rash”) as a result of exposure to strong actinic light (in particular UV) and heat. Such effects may be aggravated if good exhaust ventilation exists, since the screening effect of dust is eliminated by the ventilation.

Chemical hazards


– Exposure to welding fumes (see note 3);

– Chronic poisoning as a result of exposure to zinc or cadmium in fumes when welding zinc- or cadmium-plated parts, or to polychlorinated biphenyls from the decomposition of anticorrosion oils, or to constituents of thermal decomposition products from paints during the welding of painted pieces, or to asbestos when flame-cutting asbestos-insulated pieces;

– Siderosis (a type of pneumoconiosis) as a result of inhalation of iron oxide;

– Damage to central nervous system, lungs and liver as a result of inhalation of phosphine (phosphine may be fumed during generation of acetylene from low-purity calcium carbide);

– Respiratory disease due to high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and the related oxygen deficiency, particularly in closed, poorly ventilated places (this may be aggravated in the case of workers with cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases);

– Irritation of the eyes and the pulmonary system by nitrogen oxides and/or ozone;

– Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ergonomic and social factors


– Repetitive strain injury by static-load work;

– Musculoskeletal disturbances because of work in awkward postures;

– Eye strain and fatigue;

– Strenuous physical workload during lifting of heavy parts;

– Muscular stress and strain of hands, from the handling of heavy welding guns, in particular in overhead welding.




  1. According to published reports, welders are at increased risk of pneumoconiosis (in particular siderosis), of cancer of several types (e.g., liver, nasal, sinonasal and stomach) and of possible hearing loss because of the combined effect of noise and exposure to carbon monoxide.
  2. The shoulders and the neck of a welder may be heavily exposed to sparks and heat.
  3. Exposure to welding fumes constitutes the major chemical hazard during welding by processes of most types. Such fumes are formed in the air upon cooling and condensation of substances volatilized by the heat of the welding process, from the base metals being welded, from electrodes, filler rods, fluxes, electrode coatings, etc. used in the process, as well as from “extraneous” materials such as metal or paint coatings on the base metal, residues of cleaning materials, etc. As a rule, the particle size of fumes is in the micron or submicron range, but such particles may coalesce and form larger aggregates. Most fume particles are in the “respirable” category, and may thus penetrate deep into the respiratory system and be deposited there. Welding fumes normally contain oxides of the metals being welded (in particular, in the case of steel, iron, chromium, nickel, manganese, vanadium and other oxides) and of the electrodes, silica, alumina, magnesia, alkali- and alkali-earth oxides (in particular baria) and may contain substantial amounts of fluorides, paint, oil and solvent residues or decomposition products. Fumes produced when using thoriated electrodes contain thorium oxide. In the welding of non-ferrous metals, the fumes may contain oxides of the metals being welded and small amounts of highly poisonous impurities such as arsenic and antimony compounds. The amount of fumes formed depends on the type of welding process, but may be as high as 2-3 g/min or even more (e.g., in manual arc welding or in welding with flux-cored electrodes).



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