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RR683 - Effective control of gas shielded arc welding fume

HSE inspectors have noted that, although Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) was often available for controlling exposure to inert gas shielded welding fume, it frequently remained unused, due, partly to claims by welders that the LEV was responsible for removing shielding gas and thereby compromising the quality of the weld. However, there appeared to be few data to substantiate the welders’ claims. HSE commissioned this research project to establish whether efficient welding fume capture could be achieved using LEV whilst, at the same time, maintaining weld metal integrity. The objectives of this research project were to be met in three phases:

The report shows that when using standard welding parameters, satisfactory fume extraction is possible without compromising the weld integrity. The results are confirmed for a number of welding positions and with various extraction hoods in different positions. The results for the on-gun extraction equipment are evaluated against those observed for the stand-alone fume extraction equipment.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The on-gun evaluation study was part funded by Nederman and Abicor-Binzel. Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19