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Control of welding fume


Control of welding fume

If welding fume cannot be eliminated, control measures should be adopted as follows:

  • choice or modification of the welding process
  • improvement in working practices
  • ventilation
  • use of respiratory protection equipment (RPE)

RPE should not be considered until the effectiveness of all other techniques has been explored.

Choice or modification of the welding process

Process choice is usually made on the basis of weld quality, economics and equipment availability. Nevertheless, if other processes can be used, it should be borne in mind that some processes, such as submerged-arc and TIG, generates significantly less particulate fume than MMA, MIG and FCAW. Consumable manufacturers also supply information on fume composition which can be used in selecting welding rods for a particular job.

Improvement in working practices

A substantial improvement can often be made by placing the workpiece so the welder can avoid the plume which rises above the weld.

In large scale fabrications, the welding sequence should be organised to minimise the work carried out in enclosed or confined spaces.