At the beginning of this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released some important news on the raising of control standards for welding fumes.
This follows the announcement from International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that exposure to all welding fumes, including mild steel welding, can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
As a result of this announcement, the HSE have raised their enforcement control standards under COSHH Regulation 7, when visiting businesses undertaking welding activities.
The HSE will now require suitable ‘engineering controls’ to be in place for all indoor welding environments, such as effective Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV), which can be used to carry away the dangerous fumes and particles before they are breathed in. This type of extraction can also control the exposure to manganese, which is present in Mild Steel Welding fumes and can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s Disease.
In situations where LEV or similar measures do not adequately control exposure, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should also be used to protect against the residual fume. All controls should be correctly used, maintained and subject to thorough examination and testing where required.
When welding outdoors, suitable RPE should be provided and the welder should be instructed and trained on the use of this equipment.
“Regardless of duration. HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no know level of safe exposure.”
It is recommended that businesses who may be affected, review their current welding control measures to ensure they meet these raised standards. This might include updating risk assessments and registers to ensure they reflect the new requirements.
As a distributor of ESAB’s PAPR and Fume Extraction equipment, we can offer a wide range of industry leading equipment designed to meet safety standards and ensure that you and your workers are properly protected.
For more information, call 01244 531667 or email CWS-Ltd@hotmail.co.uk