It has been nearly a full year after the change in health and safety guidance for all welding fume, including mild steel welding, and The Health and Safety Executive HSE have increased their field presence in the industrial world. Many of you will have received letters from The HSE confirming that the Fabrication and Engineering sectors will be the subject of unannounced inspections which have now begun.
The inspections are focused on welding fume and required control measures and look at two key areas: control measures for the release of welding fume internally, through Respiratory Protective Equipment RPE and Local Exhaust Ventilation LEV, and outside welding operations.
You’ll need to put appropriate controls in place. This includes looking at how you control fumes, as all indoor welding activities will require suitable engineering controls, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation LEV and extraction.
Where these alone cannot control the exposure adequately, additional controls should be implemented, such as the use of Respiratory Protective Equipment RPE to protect the welder from residual fume. A quick and easy solution for the business unsure of the effectiveness of their current fume extraction is the introduction of PAPR, air fed, welding helmets. Extractability’s Phantom Air lightweight power air-purification respirator PAPR units provide a 2-speed clean air flow of 170 lpm or 220 lpm and is fully CE rated to EN 12941 TH2, which makes them ideal to use either alone or in conjunction with other fume control measures.
View Phantom Air PAPR + ADF Package
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 also require controls, such as suitable Respiratory Protection Equipment RPE at the very least. This RPE should be provided and employees should understand why these controls are in place and how to use the equipment safely. All equipment must also be suitable for the task at hand.
There is no identified safe level of exposure, so the HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without suitable controls in place regarding exposure, irrespective of the duration of the task. Regardless of whether or not you have received a forewarning letter from The HSE, the time to take precautions against putting your workers’ health at risk and your business at risk of an unwelcome visit from the authorities, is now.
Are you ready? Are you compliant?
Contact us today for full details of our Fume Extraction solutions.