From Airbench

HSE Safety Alert for Mild Steel Welding Fume

Posted on February 11th, 2019 | Categories News

HSE have today announced an immediate change in their expectations for control of welding fume.

Research completed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified a link between exposure to weld fume and lung cancer. It has also identified a possible link with kidney cancer.

As of today, HSE inspectors will raise their expectations for control of weld fume.

Key points to note are that:

  • LEV will ALWAYS be required when working inside.
  • RPE will always be required where LEV does not effectively control fume.
  • Welding without LEV or RPE in place will not be accepted, even if working outdoors.
  • HSE will not accept any duration of welding activity where fume is not adequately controlled.

AirBench Ltd will, as of today, recommend that weld fume is always controlled using H13 HEPA filtration. We will be contacting existing users of our systems to discuss possible upgrade options which in most cases (where only weld fume is being controlled) will be as simple as swapping a filter. Our FPW range has been redesigned to house a high capacity H13 final filter to address these newly identified issues and these models are available to purchase now.

It is unlikely that welding hoods or extraction arms will be considered adequate to control weld fume in future given the unreliable nature of these systems and their tendency to expose operators to high levels of fume when incorrectly used.

Contact us to discuss existing AirBench installations or new processes which will require suitable Local Exhaust Ventilation.