The Workplace Heath Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fumes as a human carcinogen. Consequently, the HSE has strengthened its enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding and welding outdoors.
What does this mean for businesses?
General ventilation is no longer sufficient and changes are required with immediate effect. Previously welding fume extraction was not needed for outdoor welding or for short tasks such as tacking or minor repairs, however this is now no longer the case.
All businesses should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from welding activities of any duration, including mild steel welding.
All exposure to any welding fume must be adequately controlled. Risk assessments should reflect the change to the expected control measures, and welders need to be suitably instructed and trained in the use of the controls. Where engineering control alone cannot control exposure, respiratory protection must be provided, for example in the form of a powered air respiratory system or a mask.
Parweld’s XR940A Powered Air Purifying Respiratory System is ideal for situations where exposure risk still remains after other controls have been put in place, or for short-term or infrequent exposure such as outdoor welding.
It’s portable, compact and slim design offers comfortable, reliable protection, complete with a large view true colour welding helmet. Clever automatic control systems combined with three types of warning alarms ensure a safe, constant airflow for the operator.
Designed with the user in mind, the system features a simple one button control and clear user interface. The long life battery and the filter can be changed quickly and easily by hand. A contoured outer surface help to prevent snagging on other objects. Additional shoulder straps reduce the leverage effect that can cause PAPRs to feel heavy and unwieldy. Importantly, the operator can sit or lie down without obstruction to airflow.
“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”
For more information visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm