Great for joining materials together, welding can be done almost anywhere – but it’s not without its dangers. Let’s take a look at the potential hazards behind weld fumes and why effective welding fume extraction is so important.
Welding fumes – what are they?
Welded fumes are a hazardous mix of gases and particles. They form when a metal is heated at extreme temperatures, above boiling point, and the vapours condense into fine particles.
In 1989, weld fumes were classified as Group 2B ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’, until new evidence in 2012 proved that welded fumes are, in fact, Group 1 ‘carcinogens’ – making fume extraction even more vital.
Welding fumes – the dangers
Too much exposure to welded fumes can lead to:
- eye/nose/lung/throat irritation
- kidney damage
- lead poisoning
- lung infection
- metal fume fever
- nervous system damage
- Parkinson’s disease
- reduced lung function
…and other respiratory illnesses.
Welding fumes – the solution
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is a simple way to address weld fume problems. Employers must provide RPE for all staff, this includes everything from disposable face masks and reusable respirators to welding helmets and goggles.
Wearing RPE can protect welders against welding fumes, allowing them to work safely and efficiently. However, hiring a welding fume extraction unit takes safety even further – ensuring that fumes are extracted quickly, removing all harmful gases and dust, and providing clean, safe air.
Welding fume extractors
A welding fume extractor is user-friendly and offers:
- effective extraction
- minimal noise disturbance
Extraction units, like the ProfiMaster Welding smoke filter unit, have extraction arms. Positioned correctly, the extraction arms will ensure high quality capture of welding fumes and dust from the source. The ProfiMaster welding extraction unit has extraction arms that need little adjustment and can extend up to 4m.
For applications where only low amounts of weld fumes need removing, the SmartMaster extraction filter unit is a must-have. It’s one of the easiest units to use and is designed for occasional use. There’s a rotating, swivelling exhaust hood which ensures only a few adjustments to the exhaust arm are required for welding applications.