The fume given off by welding and hot cutting processes is a varying mixture of airborne gases and very fine particles which if inhaled can cause a number of respiratory diseases including asthma and cancer. Key activities which contributing towards exposure are arc, oxy-acetylene and resistance welding. However, it is unknown which activities give rise to the highest exposures.
Through a partnership group comprised of trade associations, professional organisations, suppliers and vocational training organisations that represent a cross-section of industries where welding is present, interventions in the workplace include:
- A vocational learning package for welders.
- An independent website for the industry on the health effects from and control of exposures in welding.
- Developing messages on risks and control measures for employers and employees.
Information on these and other initiatives is available by registering on the Occupational Disease Community site.
Specific guidance for employers on reducing the incidence of respiratory disease is available on HSE’s welding web pages.