- Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
- Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
- Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
- Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
- Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.
Welding fume is subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. These COSHH advice sheets on welding, cutting and surface preparation help you to comply with COSHH. You can also read more general guidance on COSHH. Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure. Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.
You must train workers, and tell them that fumes and dust from welding and cutting can cause lung cancer and other lung conditions, if not properly controlled.
Training should include:
- health risks associated with welding fume
- advice on health effects and likely exposures
- how to do the job properly, including where to stand and how to angle the weld
- what pre-use checks you should make to check your welding equipment is working correctly
- how to use controls and check that they are working
- how local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems work
- how to use and look after respiratory protective equipment and personal protective equipment
- what to do if something goes wrong
- safety risks associated with welding activities
You must consult workers and their representatives on your health and safety arrangements.