New scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer indicates that welding fumes can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer. The findings have been used by the Workplace Health Expert Committee to endorse the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
With all this in mind, the HSE has determined that businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used, to control welding fumes.
What do you need to protect welders from harmful fumes?
In order to control the cancer risk to welders and those in the vicinity of welding fumes, Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) should be employed and kept up to date with regular servicing. This type of air extraction has the added benefit of eliminating exposure to manganese which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.
It is essential that all welders are fully trained in the use of the LEV and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) equipment provided and that risk assessments and standard operating procedures area updated accordingly. Crowthorne Group are experts in LEV system design and maintenance which can include the creation of operating procedures and training where required.
What’s the advice from HSE?
- Ensure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and testing (find out more about Crowthorne Groups testing service here)
- Make sure exposure to any welding fumes released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV)
- Provide suitable controls for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration, to include welding outdoors
- Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fumes
- Make sure RPE anRPE programmeis in place to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.
Guidance and Support from Crowthorne Group
Crowthorne Group can advise you on how to remain compliant and provide thorough examination and testing of your LEV systems in accordance with HSE’s guidance HSG258. Examination and testing includes a comprehensive inspection to ensure the LEV system performs as intended when designed and continues to provide adequate protection to users in the workplace by control of exposure to harmful fumes.
Keeping businesses clean and industry compliant has been the core objective for Crowthorne Group since 1986. Whilst ensuring clean air equipment and LEV systems maintain the highest standards, Crowthorne’s technical specialists ensure their own knowledge is kept up to date in order to advise legislative organisations and companies on best practices and regulation compliance.
Providing world-leading servicing, spare parts and validation aimed at maintaining clean air equipment and LEV systems has allowed the group to become not just service providers but also advisors.
To find out how Crowthorne Group can enhance your facility compliance, click here.