Welding fume is produced when metals are heated above their melting point. Exposure to welding fume can cause a range of serious health effects. There is no known level of safe exposure to welding fume and employers are required to put in place suitable exposure control measures. Welding fume can cause cancer and it is known that exposure to welding fume can cause kidney cancer. Welding fume is harmful by inhalation.
Inspection programme in engineering sector
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has announced an inspection and enforcement initiative within engineering companies, which is set to begin in May. The inspections will focus on compliance with industry standards specifically in relation to the control of welding fume.
To support businesses ahead of the initiative, HSENI working with industry professionals, has produced a series of six video presentations outlining the risks involved with welding and the controls that should be in place to protect workers.
1. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 1 - Professor David Fishwick MBChB FRCP(UK) AFOM FFOM (hon) FFOMI (hon) MD
David is a Consultant Respiratory Physician in the NHS in Sheffield and the Chief Medical Adviser for the Health and Safety Executive GB and HSENI. He has a major interest in lung diseases due to work exposures. In the following video David highlights the risk of serious ill health including cancer which can result from exposure to hazardous substances such as welding fume. To view the video please click on the link below.
2. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 2 - Neil Pickering CFFOH CMIOSH
Neil is a Chartered Occupational Hygienist and Safety Practitioner and is the Chair of the British Occupational Hygiene Society Breathe Freely campaign focusing on welding. In this video Neil discusses the various options available for the control of welding fume and demonstrates how to use the Breathe Freely Welding Fume Control Selector Tool. The Welding Selector Tool is freely available to those involved in welding operations and can be used to identify potential control solutions for a wide range of welding activities. To view the video please click on the link below:
3. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 3 - John Saunders
John Saunders is a Principal Scientist at the Health and Safety Executives Science and Research Centre in Buxton. In his presentation he describes a number of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) options that are available for the control of welding fume in the workplace. John also talks us through the various stages of installing a new LEV system and the importance of getting each stage right to ensure effective control is maintained. To view the video please click on the link below:
4. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 4 - Natalie Regan
In this video you will hear from Natalie Regan, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager of McCloskey International who describes the process that she and her colleagues worked through to identify and install on-tool extraction for the management of welding fume at McCloskeys. To view the video please click on the link below:
5. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 5 - South West College
Demonstration of a fixed local exhaust ventilation system. To view the video please click on the link below:
6. Safety in Welding Information Series Part 6 - McCloskeys International
Demonstration of an on-torch extraction system. To view the video please click on the link below:
- WL3 - Welding Fume Control (pdf format) – HSE (GB)
- COSHH Essentials Welding Information Sheets – HSE (GB)
- HSG258 Controlling Airborne Contaminants at Work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation - HSE (GB)