At the beginning of 2019, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) released a safety alert for a change in enforcement expectations for mild steel welding fume after new research was published confirming the carcinogenicity of welding fume. New welding extraction regulations were released to reduce occupation exposure. Find out more about Welding Fume Extraction Systems.
Welding Fume is Carcinogenic To Humans
The Lancet Oncology on IARC Monograph published an article, titled: Carcinogenicity of Welding, Molybdenum Trioxide, and Indium Tin Oxide. In 2017, 17 scientists from ten countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France to evaluate the carcinogenicity of welding, molybdenum trioxide, and indium tin oxide.
In the article, they reviewed data from around the world and estimated that 11 million workers have a job title of a ‘welder’ and that around 110 million additional workers (probably) incur welding-related exposures, worldwide.
Welding can involve exposures to fumes, gases, radiation (ultraviolet [UV] radiation and electromagnetic fields) and co-exposures to asbestos and solvents. Welding involves several processes (e.g. oxyfuel [gas], arc, and resistance welding) and materials (eg, mild and stainless steel). Exposure determinants include the process, material welded, ventilation, degree of enclosure, and use of personal protection.
These assessments were be published in the World Health Organisation‘s (WHO) IARC Monographs from this study were published research in the Welding, Molybdenum Trioxide, and Indium Tin Oxide: Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (Volume 118).
HSE STSU1: 2019 Bulletin – Welding Extraction Regulations
The HSE’s Change in Enforcement Expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume, including that from mild steel welding meant that all businesses who undertake welding activities need to ensure that effective at-source engineering control measures are correctly used to reduce exposure from welding activities.
The HSE also advised where engineering controls, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also provided to control airborne contaminants from the residual fume.
The bulletin stated: “Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.”
Three Actions You’re Required to Do
- Make sure exposure to any welding fume air pollution released is adequately controlled using engineering controls, such as extraction systems
- Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume
- Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required
Who Is The Welding Extraction Regulations Bulletin Aimed At?
The bulletin is aimed at all businesses, workers, contractors’ the self-employed and any others who undertake welding activities (including mild steel) in any industry.
What Are the Health Risks?
A commonly asked question by many fabrication and manufacturing workshops across the UK and Ireland is: What Are The Dangers of Welding Fume? In this blog, we’ve assessed what welding fumes are made up of, how they can increase the risk of cancer in humans and how control measures should be utilised to reduce risk.
What Does the Law State?
Under regulation 7 of the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) 2002 Regulations‘, employers: “Shall ensure that the employee’s exposure to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled.”
Whilst regulation 9 states: “Every employer who provides any control measure to meet the requirements of regulation 7 (Prevention or control of exposure to substances hazardous to health) shall ensure that engineering controls (such as local exhaust ventilation systems) are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, in good repair and in a clean condition.”
Auto Extract Systems offer comprehensive LEV testing services, in strict adherence with HSE’s HSG258: Controlling Airborne Contaminants at Work: A Guide to Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) guidance.
An Inventory of Successfully Completed Installations
Over our 20 years in business, we’ve helped thousands of businesses provide pollution-free workplaces. We’ve provided comprehensive LEV design and specification, installation, certification services for all kinds of processes and industries. Browse some of our favourite projects in our Case Studies section.
Why Choose Auto Extract Systems?
Auto Extract Systems is the UK’s leading LEV company. Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of businesses create dust and fume free workplaces. We have steadily been building and diversifying into new industries to help businesses provide pollution-free workplaces with comprehensive LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems. Our team of P602 qualified LEV system design engineers have over 80 years of combined experience, the know-how, and the ability to specify comprehensive LEV systems to help your business meet HSE’s HSG258 guidance.
As experts in all things LEV, we can help your business become COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulation 2002 compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installation, testing, maintenance and remedial works services across a range of industry sectors. Find out more about us here.
Request your FREE LEV Site Assessment Today!
We’ll call to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your site. We’ll analyse your working processes, assess the substances used and the contaminants generated. We’ll work out how best to control the dust and fume in a way that’s in line with your COSHH risk assessment. Next, we’ll design you a comprehensive LEV system that adheres to HSG258 guidance and send this you to via email.
We’ll do all this to ensure we fully understand your dust and fume extraction requirements and help you to provide a pollution-free workplace!
This is an amazing service we do for thousands of businesses throughout the UK and Ireland every year. We work with such a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing, industrial, woodworking, pharmaceutical and automotive workshops to schools, colleges and military establishments.
Request your FREE, no-obligation LEV site assessment today!