One year on from the Welding Fume safety update in February 2019, the HSE are once again cracking down on the metal fabrication & welding works industry with a series of inspections planned between January and March 2020.
The new guidance was issued because new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has therefore endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen, and as such, the HSE have changed their enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume.
All businesses undertaking welding activities are expected to ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from those welding activities. Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control risk from the residual fume.
The HSE advises that you can prevent or control risks to health from welding fumes by:
- using alternative cold joining techniques
- welding in a way that produces less fume
- local exhaust ventilation (LEV)
- using respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- maintaining control measures and good general ventilation
- making sure welders understand the risks and how to use controls
To learn more about the HSE enforcement change click here.
COSHH advice sheets on welding can be found here.
To view Ravex Welding Fume Control Solutions click here.