Five months after the HSE issued a change in their guidance and enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure to welding fume, including fume from mild steel welding, the response and industry activity has not yet died down.
The HSE have begun conducting visits to sites where welding is being carried out, along with any other business where fumes, dusts, vapours or small fibres considered detrimental to human health might be present or created. They are very keen on seeing welding fume control systematically enforced and companies who are found not in compliance with the HSE enforcement expectations can expect to be given an improvement notice, enforcement order or fine. There is no window of leniency businesses are expected to have already tackled this problem.
Compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations Act 2002 means, in part, accepting that opening a window or relying on general ventilation is inadequate in terms of welding fume control. Similarly, welding outside will require at the very least, suitable respiratory protection equipment RPE. This has led to a shift towards fume extraction at-source and coincides with the emergence of a range of new, next generation fume extraction torches recently launched by Extractability, a division of Weldability Sif.
The SifGun Evolution fume extraction MIG Torch is more robust than competing models, with a sturdy metal swan neck, available in a range of angles and an ergonomic, easy to manipulate, metal trigger. The brand new fume extraction concept includes improved airflow and greater visibility of the weld pool, so while the gun may look very similar, the internals have been totally upgraded. This kind of on-torch extraction offers a 95% reduction of fumes and the SifGun in particular features an optimised nozzle, which balances pressures to prevent disruption of the shielding gases. This means you can use the same shielding gas flow rates as with a standard MIG torch.
You can find our new range of SifGun Evolution fume extraction torches here.