Welding Fume Monitoring & Exposure
Monitoring your workers’ exposure to welding fume will help you to ensure that their health is not at risk. It also helps to ensure that company owners stay on the right side of the COSHH Regulations.
Welding is an indispensable process in numerous industries across the United Kingdom, vital for constructing structures and various products. However, it carries inherent risks, with one of the primary concerns being exposure to welding fumes. In detail, these fumes consist of a complex mixture of metallic oxides, particulate matter, and gaseous compounds. These pose significant health hazards to workers. In this page, we will explore welding fume exposure, its health implications, and the undoubtedly crucial role of monitoring within the context of UK legislation.
Welding fumes comprise several elements, each with potential health risks, in line with UK regulatory guidelines:
Exposure to welding fumes can result in various health consequences. The severity of which depends on factors like the type of welding, duration of exposure, and the effectiveness of control measures. Some common health effects include:
In the United Kingdom, a comprehensive framework of regulations and guidelines , govern the protection of workers from the harmful effects of welding fume. These standards set exposure limits for specific substances within welding fumes. Key regulatory bodies and guidelines include:
These regulations and guidelines are pivotal for safeguarding the well-being of workers, and adherence to them is essential. However, effective monitoring is a critical component of ensuring compliance.
Measuring welding fume exposure is integral to upholding the safety and health of workers in the United Kingdom. This practice involves the measurement of airborne contaminant concentrations in the workplace to evaluate compliance with exposure limits and to pinpoint areas necessitating control measures. Here are the key elements of monitoring welding fume exposure within the context of UK legislation:
Companies can implement several control measures to mitigate welding fume exposure.
Welding fumes can cause cancer and also some of the metals are sensitizers. For this reason, employers should keep up a program of monitoring and keep exposure as low as reasonably practicable. In fact, because there is no safe level, HSE document WL3 states how much control is needed for good practice. In summary, the HSE expects sites to stop exposure to fumes in most cases using LEV systems. When it is not possible to use an LEV outside, it is sometimes acceptable to use RPE on its own. But, more often than not, for high-intensity welding (more than 1 hr per shift), it is better to use RPE along with LEVs.
Employers have a legal duty to test and maintain systems following HSE guidance HSG258 ‘Controlling airborne contaminants at work’. Synergy’s occupational hygiene consultants also offer this testing service. We recommend combining monitoring welding fume in the workplace air with LEV testing if at all possible. Give us a call today about our monitoring services to see how we can help you to reduce exposure to fume.
Welding is a cornerstone of various industries in the United Kingdom, but it carries inherent risks, particularly associated with welding fume exposure. In summary, protecting the health and safety of workers is of paramount importance. By adhering to regulations, implementing effective monitoring practices, and robust control measures, the welding industry can minimize the adverse consequences of welding fumes and ensure a secure working environment for all. Monitoring is not merely a legal requirement but a vital tool in safeguarding those who dedicate their skills to welding from the concealed hazards of fume exposure.
As well as, welding fume monitoring, Synergy can also undertake a wide range of other monitoring for other hazards such as: