There is new scientific evidence that exposure to welding fumes can cause lung or kidney cancer. This has therefore forced a change in the HSE’s enforcement expectations. All businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fumes.
HSE have identified that the following actions should be undertaken:
- Make sure exposure to any welding fumes released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
- Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
- 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.
- Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.
For further information please visit the HSE website: www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm