The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is sending inspectors to businesses across the country to check that welding risks are managed properly, following a safety alert issued in February 2019.
The alert was due to scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that stated exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
With immediate effect, the HSE strengthened its enforcement expectation, as general ventilation isn’t considered a necessary control.
Employers are now expected to make sure any exposure to welding fumes is adequately controlled using engineering methods such as local exhaust ventilation (LEV).
In situations where this is deemed to be inadequate, respiratory protective equipment should be used.
The HSE website provides information regarding welding controls and guidance for dealing with welding fumes.