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Welding - Manual handling

HSE issues safety alert on welding fume

New evidence shows exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause cancer. Employers should use suitable controls for all welding work. The current guidance on mild steel welding is out of date and will be updated as soon as possible to take account of this new evidence.

Safety alert

Frequent heavy lifting and handling can cause back injuries and upper limb disorders. These musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) account for a large proportion of reported cases of ill health. Further statistics including a breakdown by occupation can be found on the HSE statistics pages for MSD.

Hazardous manual handling operations that welders carry out may get overlooked as they are not seen asonerous. Handling tasks which are either repeated regularly or involve twisting and turning into unusual or awkward postures can be particularly hazardous.

Manual Handling Risk Assessment Tools

The HSE have developed a number of tools that can help you assess manual handling operations. The tools can help you assess lifting and handling tasks (MAC tool), repetitive tasks (ARC tool) and pushing and pulling tasks. See the Musculoskeletal disorders page for further detail.

Further information

HSE has produced a leaflet on manual handling of welding sets. The leaflet can help you identify the risks and manage them effectively. It contains an illustrated and ergonomic checklist to help make the right choice when selecting welding equipment.

Updated 2019-03-20