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Health and Safety Alert – Welding Fumes


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued a Safety Bulletin today in relation to scientific link between welding fumes (including mild steel welding fumes) and Lung Cancer.

Within the Bulletin the HSE state –

“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.”

The HSE have confirmed that enforcement around this topic will be strengthened with immediate effect.

You can find the full bulletin here – 


If you undertake any welding activities then there are some key areas you need to look at –

Make sure you have suitably risk assessed the activities. There is no known safe working limit for welding fumes so welding activities of all duration must be suitably controlled.

When welding inside, make sure that there is suitable engineered controls in place for all welding activities regardless of duration. This will typically be a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system.

When welding outside, provide suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE).

Ensure that controls have been put in place to protect those who may be affected by the welding activities, such as RPE zones and segregated working areas.

Where the engineering controls cannot wholly control the risk and there is risk of exposure to residual fumes then you must ensure that suitable RPE is provided and used.

Provide suitable instruction and training to all employees who undertake welding activities, making sure they are correctly supervised as necessary for their activities and ability levels.

Ensure that all engineering controls are subject to the correct maintenance and inspection/examination.

Make sure that all RPE wearers are suitably Face Fit Tested and that the RPE is part of a programme to ensure they are correctly stored, worn, inspected and maintained.

If you need some additional help with Health and Safety in Welding Activities, then get in touch with the Orchard Compliance Solutions team on 0800 118 1674 or

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