Welders – common causes of asthma

Fumes known as 'welding fume' are produced during welding and 'hot activity' work and this is associated with occupational asthma.

When you are a welder you have a greater chance of getting asthma than the average worker, particularly if you are welding stainless steel.

Stainless steel welding fume ingredients of chromium and nickel are capable of causing occupational asthma, these are known as asthmagens.

See COSHH Essentials - Publication for detailed advice on control

Top Tips

  • You should protect yourself and others - at all times - by using the correct methods and controls.
  • Keep your face out of the fume – breathing in any fume is bad for you.
  • Always use the appropriate equipment and check that it is working properly.  If not, inform your employer.
  • You need regular health surveillance

Reduce disease – reduce expose to welding fume

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 ill health

The visible part of the fume cloud is mainly particles of metal, metal oxide and flux (if used).

Different methods of welding will create different levels of fume.

Techniques that create a higher level of fume are more dangerous.

Case Studies

Case studies are real incidents with real and often serious long-term consequences for the people involved.

Further information


You can find more guidance and information for welders on the Asthma publications pages.

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