Health and Safety In Welding: How Has Regulation Changed?


Nov 11 2021 10:16AM

Welding, which is the practice of using heat to melt together metals or thermoplastics so that when they cool down, they’re fused, has been around for a long time. However, in recent years, it's come to light that welding fumes present many dangers to workers' health. In fact, 12,000 people died in the UK last year from lung diseases estimated to be linked to past work exposure. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at how welding legislation has changed and how you can protect your workers from exposure to welding fumes moving forward.

Is Welding Dangerous?

For trades who have been using welding for years, it’s perhaps startling to learn that there are now long-term dangers associated with the practice.

In particular, there are three main dangers when it comes to welding: UV light, vibrations and fumes. Needless to say, prolonged exposure to UV light can lead to the development of skin cancer. However, long-term exposure to welding fumes – which include small, burnt metallic particles that hang around the air – can lead to the development of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational asthma and even lung cancer.

How Is The HSE Addressing The Issue?

From May 4th 2021, the HSE have been clamping down on businesses who use welding as a common practice to ensure that they are compliant with new fume guidelines. The new rules include the use of extraction when welding indoors and requiring workers to wear air-fed breathing masks to protect them from harmful air particles.

Inspectors will be visiting workplaces to check compliance with regulations and guidance and will be testing employees on their knowledge of such risks and their rights surrounding them.

How Can Arion Help?

Our health and safety consultants at Arion can help businesses better their understanding of the problem surrounding welding fumes in their workplaces and manage any issues presented by them. We also offer health and safety training that is compliant with the new welding fume extraction regulations to protect your workers' health.

For more information on how health and safety regulations have changed in regards to welding, contact us at Arion today.

Image Source: Pixabay

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