Do you need welding fume extraction or RPE?

Welders face a range of health risks, from throat irritation and emphysema to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease. These threats make weld fume extraction and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) essential – but how do you decide between them?

Think about:

  1. What processes you use (i.e. arc welding, plasma cutting, gouging)
  2. What consumables you use (i.e. aluminium, carbon steel, stainless steel)
  3. Whether you weld indoors or outdoors

2 Arm ProfiMaster Welding Smoke Filter Unit

Both RPE and welding fume extraction systems, when used correctly, control weld fumes to ensure compliance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations. RPE offers basic protection for welders, whilst fume extraction systems capture fumes at the source.

Welding fume extraction

Here at Defuma, we supply a wide range of welding fume extractors which not only get rid of welded fumes but also remove dust particles to prevent health problems such as asthma and lung cancer.

Investing in a welding fume extractor, and positioning extraction arms correctly, will dramatically improve air quality in your workshop – efficiently removing contaminants.

A weld fume extractor can be used for:

  • Moderate to high volumes of Metal Inert Gas (MIG) production welding
  • Bench welding
  • Welding in a screened off area
  • Welding carbon, mild steel or aluminium
  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding
  • Air gouging

Welding extraction is not usually required for outdoor applications – it’s better suited indoors.


There are two types of RPE – respirators and breathing apparatus – and these are available in various styles, including tight-fit (half and full face masks) and loose-fit (hoods, helmets, and suits).

For instances where welding fume extraction isn’t practical, like welding outdoors, RPE is vital. In confined spaces where welding fumes cannot be avoided, wearing an air-fed dust mask for short jobs will offer reasonable protection for welders, reducing their exposure to dangerous fumes.

Before welding, it’s essential to check that RPE equipment works properly, it’s also important to ensure it is well maintained, keeping it in working order for longer.

Some circumstances may require RPE as well as welding fume extractors, to further enhance the safety of welders.

Get in touch

For more information about how to protect your workforce, call Defuma on 01480 455 466 today and we will be more than happy to offer friendly advice

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