Click here to see latest events

Are you Welding safely?

Inhaling welding fume has long been known to be hazardous to health. All welding fumes (including mild steel) are classed as carcinogens. Metalworking fluids can cause occupational asthma, occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis and dermatitis.

The HSE has been inspecting engineering premises this year and will continue to do so.

The HSE specifically requires the following.

  • Exposure to welding fume must be adequately controlled using engineering controls – typically local exhaust ventilation (LEV).
  • Suitable controls must be provided for all welding, irrelevant of duration – including welding outdoors.
  • Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be used to control the risk associated with any residual fume.
  • All engineering controls must be correctly used, suitably maintained and, where required, thoroughly examined/tested.
  • RPE use is subject to an RPE programme – ensuring RPE remains effective in protecting the wearer.
  • The new evidence and increased HSE control of fume exposure should be reflected in your risk assessment and current site control measures. Existing controls should be replaced or improved to reflect the reclassifying of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen. It must be understood that general ventilation will not achieve the required welding fume exposure control; controlling carcinogenic fumes requires more effective engineering controls, such as LEV, if welding indoors.



Local exhaust ventilation

LEV allows for at-source fume extraction and prevents welding fume spreading into the surrounding workplace and entering a worker’s breathing zone.

If LEV is unable to control fume capture, the HSE states that RPE is also required. Appropriate RPE should also be provided for welding outdoors.

Our Environmental team can assist in helping you establish whether or not your LEV is up to standard and determine whether it is providing adequate protection and ventilation to your employees.

If you would like some further advice, please contact the health and safety team on 01302 341 344.

By Aaron Moxam – Risk Services Assistant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *