Fume Extraction, Welding PPE & Welding Safety

Safety & Fume Extraction

We sell an extensive range of CE approved welding PPE, specially developed and designed to provide the required level of protection for all welding applications.

Health and safety equipment protects workers from common welding injuries including welding fume inhalation and infrared and ultraviolet exposure.

What is a fume extractor and how does it work?

A fume extractor is a system that utilises a fan using negative draft to pull fumes and dust particles into a contained filtration system. This process removes hazardous chemicals and particles from the air.

What is the benefit of welding fume extraction?

Welding fume extractors contribute to a safe welding environment involving the removal of welding fumes, providing a clean and circulated airflow, protecting workers from ill health.

All welding fumes cause risk to health. Thus, the Health & Safety Executive require by law the protection of welders by controlling welding fumes and preventing risk to health. This applies to specialist welders and workers who do a small amount of welding.

Parts of a LEV (local exhaust ventilation) system?

Hood - to collect airborne contaminants at, or near, where they are created (the source).

Ducts - to carry the airborne contaminants away from the process.

Air cleaner - to filter and clean the extracted air.

Fan - which must be the right size and type to deliver sufficient ‘suck’ to the hood.

Discharge - for the safe release of cleaned, extracted air into the atmosphere.

How to control welding fumes?

  • Avoid or reduce exposure e.g. using alternative cold joining techniques or welding in a way that produces less fume
  • Use local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to take the fume away at source
  • Use suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE), for example a face mask, to protect workers from inhaling fumes
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Maintaining control measures and good general ventilation
  • Making sure welders understand the risks and how to use controls

1. Avoid or reduce exposure

To protect your workers from the health risks of inhaling welding fume, first think about if you can use alternative joining, cutting or surface preparation methods that produce less fume or dust.

Consider if you could avoid or reduce exposure by doing the job in a different way.

  • Automate or mechanise the process by using distance welding, turntables or enclosing the work
  • Reduce the amount of welding
  • Use materials or a process that generates less fume, for example, using MIG welding (an arc welding process) instead of MMA welding (stick welding)
  • Use clean metals, for example, pre-fabrication shaping or better machining

2. Use local exhaust ventilation (LEV)

If you can't avoid welding in your workplace, use local exhaust ventilation systems for indoor working to help remove fume at its source. This is also known as extraction or fume control.

This will protect your welder from exposure to welding fume. It will also help to protect others nearby.

LEV works by using an air-flow to remove contaminated air from the process for capture by the hood. Types of LEV include:

  • On-torch extraction
  • Extracted benches
  • Extracted booths
  • Portable or mobile LEV

3. Use suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

If you cannot achieve adequate control from LEV alone, or if it is not reasonably practicable to provide LEV, you must provide your workers with suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE). For example, if they're welding with LEV but not all the fume is captured you might be able to see residual uncaptured fume, or in the case of TIG welding, smell uncaptured ozone, then you're not controlling the risk and you should also provide respiratory protective equipment.

  • Use an FFP3 disposable mask or half-mask with P3 filter, for work of up to an hour
  • Use battery-powered air-fed protective equipment for longer duration work, with a minimum assigned protection factor of 20 (APF20)
  • Ensure RPE wearers are clean shaven and provide face-fit testing for them
  • For welding outdoors, local exhaust ventilation will not work, so workers should use suitable RPE to control exposure

You should always provide appropriate personal protective equipment for your welders and shielding to protect other workers from eye damage.

Welding PPE & Welding Safety

Welding screens and curtains are used to create a barrier that can withstand extreme heat and light reducing risk to those within close proximity.

Air fed welding masks/helmets are regular welding helmets with a respirator built-in which circulates clean and filtered air to the user, protecting them harmful welding fumes and gases.

Air fed welding masks or welding helmets?

Welding helmets were previously more common as they are much more affordable than air fed welding masks with respirators built in. However, due to health and safety regulations introduced by the Health and Safety Executive, it is now a requirement that workers wear full protection/PPE to prevent health risks, meaning air fed welding masks are now more common.

For specialist advice and technical support, call free on 0800 975 9710

What PPE is needed for welding?

Protects Equipment Type Reason
Eyes & face Welding helmet, hand shield
or goggles
Protects from:
- radiation
- particles & debris
- hot slag, sparks
- intense light
- irritation and chemical burns
Wear fire resistant head coverings
under the helmet where necessary.
The lungs Respirators Protects against fumes & oxides
Exposed skin
(other than feet, hands & head)
Fire/Flame resistant
clothing & aprons
Protects against:
- heat & fires
- burns
- radiation
The ears Ear muffs & ear plugs Protects against noise
Use fire resistant ear muffs where
sparks or splatter may enter the ear,
rather than plugs.
Feet & hands Boots & gloves Protects against:
- electric shock
- heat
- burns
- fires

Welding safety checklist

Danger Cause Measure
Electric shock - Wet equipment
- Equipment misuse
- Poor condition of equipment
- Prevent machine from contact of conductable materials such as metal
- Suitable and dry safety equipment
- Regular visual equipment inspections
- Adhere to health and safety guidelines and log if necessary
- Ensure earth clamp is utilised appropriately and when necessary
- Ensure equipment does not exceed the power capacity of all cables and leads
Fumes & Gases - Enclosed space
- Lack of ventilation
- Prevent inhalation with fume extraction and other methods of ventilation
- Ventilation must always be adequate
- Undertake visual inspections of emitted fumes
- Adhere to health and safety guidelines and log if necessary
Welding sparks, spatter & splatter - Flammable materials
- Unclean and untidy work area
- Equipment misuse
- Failure to follow equipment best practices
- Don't weld on or around combustable materials
- Remove flammable materials from welding area or shield with welding screens or curtains
- Never leave the welding area unattended for 30 minutes after welding
- Ensure there is a health and safety maintained carbon dioxide fire extinguisher in the welding area
- Always wear fire retardant clothing, don't leave skin exposed to welding spatter and sparks
UV, infrared & arc rays Welding of all types - Select a welding helmet lens is suitable to protect the eyes
Always wear a welding helmet and suitable clothing to cover the skin
- Install welding screens, curtains, bays or tent to protect by standers
- For auto darkening welding helmets, test the auto darkening lens before welding
Confined space » Metal enclosure » Wetness » Restricted entry » Heavier than air gas » Welder inside or on workpiece - Select a welding helmet lens is suitable to protect the eyes
Always wear a welding helmet and suitable clothing to cover the skin
- Install welding screens, curtains, bays or tent to protect by standers
- For auto darkening welding helmets, test the auto darkening lens before welding

© 2024 AES Industrial Supplies Limited

Company Registration: 07988136 Registered Office: Olympic House, Collett, Southmead Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, OX11 7WB


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