The HSE have issued the following safety alert:
There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
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.
What you need to do:
- Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.
- Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
- Ensure that 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 (respiratory protective equipment) should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
- Ensure that 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.
How can HVDS help:
Should you have any questions about the impact of this on your business, our LEV technical specialists and engineers are here to assist. Get in touch today on 01785 256 976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.