Welding Fumes Safety Alert
04 Apr 2019
HSE issues Safety alert on welding fume
New evidence shows exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause cancer. Employers should use suitable controls for all welding work.
On 14 January, the HSE shared with the Industry and Regulatory Forum on Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) that they have raised enforced control measures for welding operations in the UK.
This follows an announcement from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who classified welding fumes and UV radiation from welding as Group 1 carcinogens. IARC published their findings in Lancet Oncology in 2017 in a paper titled ‘Carcinogenicity of welding, molybdenum trioxide, and indium tin oxide’.
The raised enforced control standards are highlighted below:
- All forms of welding fume can cause cancer.
- Control is required
- Indoor welding tasks require the use of LEV. If LEV is unable to control fume capture then Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is also required.
- Outdoor welding requires use of RPE.
- Enforcement of the raised control standards is with immediate effect under COSHH Regulation 7.
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