Why do your welders need protecting ?
There are a number of health hazards associated with welding.
Welding is one of the most common activities carried out in industry. It is estimated that there are 190,000 workers in the UK who weld, comprising of around 73,000 professional, skilled welders and many other unskilled or semi-skilled welders who carry out welding as part of their job.
The main health hazard with many welding operations – particularly manual metal arc (MMA) (stick) and MIG welding – is the welding fume. This consists of very fine particles of metal oxides, mainly arising from the welding rod or wire.
The composition varies depending on the metal being welded. With mild steel the fume will mainly consist of iron oxide but there is also likely to be a small percentage of manganese which is used in welding rods.
Stainless steel welding is particularly hazardous as the fume contains nickel and chromium VI oxides which are highly toxic if inhaled – both are carcinogens and can also cause occupational asthma.
Remember to check your Workers Health Surveillance programme is in place.