Workers at a welding company in Birmingham were being exposed to potentially harmful welding fume.
Exposure to welding fumes is associated with a number of occupational diseases, including COPD, chronic bronchitis, ‘fume fever’, pneumonia and asthma.
HSE inspection and enforcement led to improvements in the control of the welding fume. This will have long-term health benefits for the workers.
At a welding company in Birmingham a HSE inspector found that there were no control measures in place to protect workers from welding fume.
The employees were welding mild steel and galvanized materials. At least one welder was being exposed for 7-8 hours a day.
HSE asked the company to do a COSHH assessment to identify ways to reduce exposure. However, when HSE returned it had not been done.
The company was served with an improvement notice requiring them to reduce exposure to the fumes. Failure to comply with an improvement notice can lead to prosecution and fines.
The company fitted local exhaust ventilation to all their welding benches.
As a result of this HSE intervention, the company reduced the levels of welding fume the workers were exposed to, and potentially prevented them from suffering occupational ill health in the future.
More information on welding can be found at the welding site.