Each different type of welding process gives off varying amounts of harmful fumes and gases. Fumes contain small particles of metal and flux, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Studies by the HSE have concluded that welding fumes may be more harmful that previously thought: exposure to these fumes can cause many respiratory illnesses or even cancer. Companies must now provide adequate controls for welding operations regardless of duration. Additionally, these controls should remove the hazard at source as overall room extraction does not reduce exposure to the operator. A fume extraction system could present the ideal solution.
The workplace exposure limit (WEL) for welding fumes varies depending on the type of welding, material and the filler rod and flux. For example, the 8 hour exposure limit for iron oxide is 5mg/m3, whilst the limit for chromium III is 0.5mg/m3. Because of the large differences in WELs and combinations of different welding processes, we recommend that exposure tests are carried out to determine your limits. For information regarding the WEL for specific welding operation visit the HSE website. Extraction Solutions can offer bespoke fume extraction solutions to cater for your precise needs.