In February 2019 the HSE strengthened its enforcement expectations for mild steel welding fume following ‘new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.’
Composition of fume will vary depending on the type of metal being welded and the welding method used, but can include a range of gases which have all been assigned WELs (workplace exposure limits) – these include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.
All substances with WELs are subject to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, meaning employers are required to prevent or minimise exposure using effective control measures.
In the first instance, HSE advises minimising fume as much as possible. Once this has been achieved, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system or both should be used to reduce exposure to any remaining fume.
Filtermist’s experienced team provides a full turnkey solution for effective welding fume extraction - from designing and specifying the right fume extraction equipment, to installation, commissioning and ongoing monitoring to ensure the extraction equipment is performing as intended.
The recommended extraction equipment will vary depending on the customer’s specific circumstances, but can include on-tool extraction, mobile extraction units, downdraught benches and larger filtration units that connect to centralised systems.
Contact our team now to discuss your welding fume extraction requirements.
The HSE website includes a dedicated welding section containing a wide range of information about health and safety risks caused by welding and useful resources including COSHH advice sheets. Visit https://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/ to find out more.