Businesses that undertake mild steel welding need to be aware of tightening health and safety laws. Simply opening a window or using a general ventilation system isn’t enough and won’t remove weld fumes.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released a safety alert for all welding activities across a range of industries in February 2019. They felt that the only way to protect workers against dangerous welded fumes was to take immediate action and strengthen the enforcement against cancer-causing welding fumes.
The new enforcement guidelines follow studies carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which discovered that even mild steel welding fumes may cause cancer of the lung, larynx, kidney or urinary tract.
Welders are also at greater risk of reduced lung function, throat/lung irritation and metal fume fever, and some weld fumes cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms and neurological damage.
Welding stainless steel can produce nickel oxide and chromium oxide – both said to cause asthma – and can also contain hexavalent chromium which can lead to severe lung cancer.
What does this mean for your business?
HSE expects all indoor welding activities to be accompanied by local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and welded fumes to be removed from the source. The responsibility for welding fume extraction lies with employers and you must provide reasonable control measures to effectively minimise exposure. Without suitable provisions in place, you could be faced with hefty fines and possible prison sentences.
Health and safety consultants, Gauntlet, assess your risk and make it easier for you to manage yours and your employees health and safety. They can help you to implement the right controls – without delay – ensuring compliance with Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and COSHH regulations 2002.
How can Defuma help?
To ensure fumes are removed quickly and safely, we supply a range of extraction units. Our team can share their expertise and help you to select the right welding fume extractor – making sure it suits your environment and meets all regulations.
We supply a wide range of welding fume extractors. Take for example the Filter-Master XL fume extraction filter unit. As a mobile extraction unit, it can be easily moved around your workshop – removing contaminants from difficult to reach areas – it also has an automatic filter cleaning function ensuring weld fumes are extracted efficiently. Even better, the welding fume extractor uses KemTex® ePTFE filter cartridges to provide employers with the very best health protection.
For more information about the new enforcement guidelines for welding fume extraction or guidance on our welding fume extractors, get in touch via our handy general enquiry form. If you’re unsure which welding fume extractor you need, please provide us with as much detail as possible and our specialists will get in touch with a suitable solution. Alternatively, you can call us on 01480 455 466 or email email@example.com.