COSHH and welders - key messages

Substances hazardous to health in welding, cutting and allied processes include:

  • fume and gases from welding and cutting;
  • dust from gouging and abrasive blasting;
  • paints, lubricants, degreasing and stripping fluids;
  • pickling pastes;
  • work in confined spaces and inert gases (eg nitrogen, argon).

Control measures include:

  • dust and fume extraction;
  • personal protective equipment (eg gloves, masks, respirators).

Example: Welding fume

Problems can occur if exposure to hazardous substances is not controlled.

Fume from welding can cause lung diseases, with an increased risk of asthma and cancer. The amount of fume depends on the welding process – some processes produce a great deal of fume. The location (eg outdoors; restricted area) and the fume from the metal welded also affects the controls needed.

Help in identifying the right controls appears on the e-COSHH essentials for welders website. You need to enter information about the welding process, the location, and the metal welded to get the right control information.


Your employer provides equipment to protect your health, such as:

  • extraction of fume;
  • personal protective equipment.

You have a duty to use these properly and co-operate with any monitoring.

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