The HSE have recently released a bulletin and guidelines in regard to Mild Steel Welding Fume.
Excerpt from Bulletin:
With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement
expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because
general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.
- There is new scientific evidence that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer.
- There is also limited evidence linked to kidney cancer.
- There is a change in HSE enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume, including that from mild steel welding.
- All businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure effective engineering controls are provided and correctly used to control fume arising from those welding activities.
- Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to control risk from the residual fume.
What this means for businesses is all projects undertaken that include welding will have to ensure that their welders have suitable RPE and weld extraction in place.
Our company policy is to provide and use Air-fed Masks for all welders; when indoors, extraction units will now be used.
You can read more here