Updated: Oct 5
The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today announced that it will no longer permit welding to be carried out without suitable fume control measures in place. Fume control measures will include adequate ventilation and suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), depending on the nature of the activity.
The HSE will no longer permit welding to be carried out without any suitable control measures in place, regardless of duration. Control measures will range from fume extraction/ventilation to suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE), depending on the nature of the activity.
The change in advice, set out in a new HSE alert, reflects new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer. HSE's Workplace Health Expert Committee has therefore endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
Individuals carrying out welding activities must also update their risk assessments to reflect the change in expected control measures.
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