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flysafe  
#1 Posted : 12 February 2019 16:23:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
flysafe

Hi All

I found this and it affects our work so I thought I would share.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

We only do limited welding ourselves with contractors doing the majority, but we will have to review all relevant Risk Assessmsnts and procedures and our Permit Sytem.

thanks 1 user thanked flysafe for this useful post.
Connor35037 on 12/02/2019(UTC)
Graham Baldwin  
#2 Posted : 12 February 2019 16:41:37(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Graham Baldwin

I've seen the HSE alert and they have taken the new guidance for mild steel fume and applied it to all welding (regardless of metal type). RPE will be required at all times as there is no safe level for carcinogens

What ever happened to a risk based approach, where's the evidence for other types of metal welding causing cancer.

This has big implications for anyone doing welding

No doubt lots of visits will be arranged on the back of this

johnmurray  
#3 Posted : 12 February 2019 23:35:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Other countries have never assumed welding fume does not cause cancer....and the risk from welding stainless steel, with exposure to hexavalent  Chromium, has long been known

https://oem.bmj.com/content/oemed/51/5/335.full.pdf

In fact, the list of ailments caused, or made worse, by welding fume is long and distinguished.

Guess companies will now have no reason to not install LEV and provide DECENT RPE.

But many small employers won't, of course.

stevecollins  
#4 Posted : 13 February 2019 06:13:47(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
stevecollins

I came across this yesterday, its going to have a big effect on a lot of companies. I used to work for a fabrication company and at one point we had almost 200 welders. Around 150 were on short term contract for an oil and gas project. With powered respirators costing between 400 to 1000 each that would have been a game changing figure. 

On another note the statement within the alert that there is no safe level of exposure is a bit worrying.

All the best

Steve

johnmurray  
#5 Posted : 13 February 2019 17:40:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

And yet, only 5 years ago.....

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/328648/03_info-note-lung-cancer-and-welding.pdf

johnmurray  
#6 Posted : 13 February 2019 17:44:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

9 years ago....not much risk of COPD

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/iacs/acts/watch/240209/welding-copd.pdf

In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of history of govts ingoring HSE and going for the soft option...

billyTPS  
#7 Posted : 14 February 2019 17:00:49(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
billyTPS

Yes came across this the other day too, looking at RPE all our welders will require to be face fitting for masks troble we have most have beards!!!

how do i get round this apart from asking them to shave them off (which is'nt going to happen)

I'm sure i am not the only one here with this problem let alone the cost implication.

Alan.j  
#8 Posted : 15 February 2019 08:43:54(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Alan.j

The bulletin states engineering controls then RPE as an additional item if the engineering control in not suffiecient, so my question is RPE on its own sufficient ? Or are we definatly looking at having to buy a portable LEV machine ? (i'm taking a worshop enviroment using an oxy set up for maybe 20 minutes in total over the working week)

Also does to term also cover cutting a siezed bolt or heating a siezed nut in order to aid its removal here ?

Thanks in advance

CptBeaky  
#9 Posted : 15 February 2019 15:01:20(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
CptBeaky

The main risk is from the mild steel vapourizing from the heat then condensing in the air (creating the fumes). These condensed particles are small enough to enter deep into the lungs. Basically if the mild steel is heated up beyond its melting point you will need to take precautions.

I am in the same boat though. We rarely weld (1 hour per week max), so we have never had LEV installed for this (only been with this company for 7 months). Currently this is done in a very airy factory (surrounded by a screen) and the welders wore FFP3 disposable masks. The wording of the HSE seems to suggest that if the welding is inside LEV will be expected, however outside it my be ok with just face masks.

Do others agree with this?

billyTPS  
#10 Posted : 18 February 2019 10:37:44(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
billyTPS

My thoughts are taking me down same road, LEV indoors a must which we have already and mask or air fed helmit for outside work, we are in same sittuation where there is not a great deal of weldding done (1-2 hours per week) 

What are others thoughts here ???

I still feel there is a massive implication here for the industry yes in a good way but fearfull as mentioned previously smaller companys my not take notice or even be aware of the safety alert.

Gerry Knowles  
#11 Posted : 19 February 2019 14:53:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Gerry Knowles

We have a similar situation, as a plant hire business we do very little in the way of welding and this was done in a large workshop with lots of ventilation and the welder wearing suitable RPE.  Having read the recent information from the HSE on welding we looked at the sitiation and have decided to install a purpose built welding booth complete with a portable LEV unit.  This will allow us to carry out the normal day to day welding and the little bit of fabrication we do and if there is a bigger bit of work to do on an item of plant we can wheel the LEV to the job and couple with some RPE do the welding.  The issue of occupational helaht screening does not apply to us as we already do it as a matter of course as part of the package covering noise, vibration etc.

Steven n  
#12 Posted : 19 February 2019 15:36:26(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Steven n

I work in a large Fab shop with around 15 welding bays, it's going to cost a small fortune to fit LEV, but we'll be doing it anyway. The bigger concern for me is the future of the industry.

1) It is hard enough finding younger workers willing to do hard, hot, heavy and noisy work when they can get similar money in a nice cosy call centre now we are going to have to tell them that the hard, hot, heavy and noisy industry causes cancer!

2) Wait til the no win no fee mob get hold of this "Have you or a member of your family worked in the welding industry? Have you or they had lung cancer? we can win you thousands in compensation etc..."

BIrving  
#13 Posted : 19 February 2019 15:37:03(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
BIrving

We have had this communicated from our compliance team, with the action to review our systems and ensure we have the right controls in place.

Majority of our welding is done outside the workshop in a desginated area, for poor weather conditions and welding required in the factory areas we have a portable LEV.

Our engineers are literally doing ad hock welding which equates to less than 1hr per week of TIG welding, but there is a possibility of MMA welding once or twice a year.

Interpreting the information regarding the welding changes, we will require RPE for any welding that does not use an LEV, even if the welding is in large airy environments with good air exchange.

Any advice on types of RPE with filters.

 

Mark-W  
#14 Posted : 19 February 2019 15:45:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mark-W

My interpretation is that any welding in the open air should be fine with basic RPE. But in the main, our welding is conducted in a marsden shed. We have several production lines all doing their thing. The issue is we case harden the blades by welding over them. This means that the welder is operating for several hours in a working day. I'm now looking at replacing the current powered RPE for more effective and modern kit. We only have 2 welders so not a huge outlay. But money we don't really want to be spending.

matelot1965  
#15 Posted : 19 February 2019 22:51:05(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Guys to help you decide what RPE you require try using the breath freely tool at the link below http://www.breathefreely.org.uk/
hilary  
#16 Posted : 20 February 2019 10:49:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

We already have LEVs for welding but, being a belt and braces organisation, we will be introducing airfed masks.  We plan to use positive airfed masks so that face fit is not required.  We feel this will be more comfortable for the users and, with the LEV already in place, will give sufficient protection.

Thanks for the information, very handy.

Oldroyd19659  
#17 Posted : 20 February 2019 14:49:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oldroyd19659

Can i just make the point that no legislation has changed, no guidance has changed with repect to weld fume. What has happened is that EH40 has been updated and Chromium VI has been classified as a carcinogen. The rush to invest in air fed helmets is absolute folly. Each individual area of welding needs to have its own COSHH assessment. 

For example if you are welding Mild steel using FCAW or MIG this is predominantly a trivalent reaction and gives off Chromium II which if you look in EH40 the WEL is 0.5 mg/m3. We sample on a regular basis and get indicitive readings generally of 0.0006mg/m3. if you then stuck someone in a PFF3 at a APF of times 20, that in theory gives you protection to a theoretical value of 10mg/m3 so why would you buy an air fed.

Then take the scinario if you were welding mild steel using MMA then this would create Chromium VI which is a hexavalent reaction,  and, as noted has been redesignated a carcinogen with a WEL of 0.05mg/m3. Given you get the same indicative readings of 0.0006mg/m3 then this is way below the WEL and you would be legally compliant to utilise PFF3 protection.

In all scenarios you really need to try to facilitate engineering controls where possible. But to just go for air fed is ludicrous. If you look at the example above you would simply say use MIG where possible. As I said its about the assessment. 

The best way if you are in  a workshop of keeping the team safe is to utilise flexible LEV and make sure the team know how to fully make use of it and extract the full plume. That way they should get 0mg/m3 of anything so why on earth would you give them an air fed mask as well.

Edited by user 20 February 2019 15:00:47(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

hsherwoo  
#18 Posted : 21 February 2019 00:08:56(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hsherwoo

You would be looking at a battery powered filtered air respirator - a lot cooler than a close fitting mask and no worries about hipster beards.  But yes costs a few pennies...

Originally Posted by: billyTPS Go to Quoted Post

Yes came across this the other day too, looking at RPE all our welders will require to be face fitting for masks troble we have most have beards!!!

how do i get round this apart from asking them to shave them off (which is'nt going to happen)

I'm sure i am not the only one here with this problem let alone the cost implication.

hilary  
#19 Posted : 21 February 2019 08:39:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

We have LEV of course, had it for decades but sometimes I know it is not used because it can be counterproductive to the actual welding process - ie, if the hood is too close or the LEV too powerful it removes some of the gas required to make a good weld and you end up with rubbish which then needs redoing leading to more welding fumes and rework.

We also have urine tests carried out once a year to check for heavy metals and manganese and participated in a 4 week study with HSL on welding fumes and bodily absorption.  I know our employees are well looked after already and some might argue that airfed is not necessary.  Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but we are an organisation that seeks to always do the right thing - belt and braces so that we have a good safety culture and the employees know we will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.  As it happens, we only have two welders so the cost will be easily affordable but what price do you put on morale, involvement, culture, buy in? 

Sometimes taking a positive step like this is so much more than just introducing an airfed mask.

CptBeaky  
#20 Posted : 21 February 2019 12:53:45(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: Oldroyd19659 Go to Quoted Post

Can i just make the point that no legislation has changed, no guidance has changed with repect to weld fume. What has happened is that EH40 has been updated and Chromium VI has been classified as a carcinogen. The rush to invest in air fed helmets is absolute folly. Each individual area of welding needs to have its own COSHH assessment. 

For example if you are welding Mild steel using FCAW or MIG this is predominantly a trivalent reaction and gives off Chromium II which if you look in EH40 the WEL is 0.5 mg/m3. We sample on a regular basis and get indicitive readings generally of 0.0006mg/m3. if you then stuck someone in a PFF3 at a APF of times 20, that in theory gives you protection to a theoretical value of 10mg/m3 so why would you buy an air fed.

Then take the scinario if you were welding mild steel using MMA then this would create Chromium VI which is a hexavalent reaction,  and, as noted has been redesignated a carcinogen with a WEL of 0.05mg/m3. Given you get the same indicative readings of 0.0006mg/m3 then this is way below the WEL and you would be legally compliant to utilise PFF3 protection.

You seem knowledgable on this, but you have me confused. Whilst I can agree that no legislation or guidance has changed, the HSE state:

"There is a change in HSE enforcement expectations in relation to the control of exposure of welding fume, including that from mild steel welding."

Which would seem to indicate that something has changed. It is vague, hence why we are having this discussion, to clarify what this means.

And we also have:

"Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure."

I am just about to embark on my NVQ level 5 so I am sure I still have a lot to learn, but how am I supposed to know the WEL limit when I read that statement from the HSE? It also suggests that they were willing to accept our current setup before this statment. Currently we have been relying on a well ventilated area and FFP3 disposable masks (with a face fit test of course). We just didn't weld enough to deem LEV practicable, now we are unsure if that is still enough.

Oldroyd19659  
#21 Posted : 21 February 2019 16:45:35(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Oldroyd19659

Hi CptBeaky...hope your well.

This has come about because of a "domain knowledge report" by the by the IARC which has said that weld fume [that specifically means gaseous and dust constituent] causes cancer. If you as a business are monitoring exposure to weld fume then you will be aware that there are several constituent parts of "weld fume" that are carcinogenic such as cadmium, colbolt, Chromium VI, and others that are listed in EH40 table 1 such as copper, vandium, zinc, lead so the type of controls now recommended by the HSE really should be in place anyway.

The big issue for me is they have just said "weld fume" and have not assigned it a WEL....I presume this is  because it is made up of all of the above, and made up of things that already have WELs.

Again it all depends on what your welding. Me personally I would get some monitoring done when you are welding and if it is well ventilated you should pick very small amounts of constituents...the monitoring will enable you to analyse.

1. What is actually in your particular weld fume.

2. What levels you are getting with the ventilation you have.

3 You can then compare the consituent levels with what is given in EH40 and see if the PF3 is sufficient.

Example- but short your monitoring pickes up vandium @ 0.0006 mg/m3 and chromium II @ 0.005mg/m3 and lead at 0.005mg/m3 then PF3 when you look at the WELs of these substances suggest this is okay. If they are higher than the WEL or close that would be a judgement call you would need air fed.

I hope this helps

Edited by user 21 February 2019 16:49:25(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 1 user thanked Oldroyd19659 for this useful post.
CptBeaky on 22/02/2019(UTC)
toe  
#22 Posted : 21 February 2019 19:42:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

Originally Posted by: Oldroyd19659 Go to Quoted Post

Can i just make the point that no legislation has changed, no guidance has changed with repect to weld fume. What has happened is that EH40 has been updated and Chromium VI has been classified as a carcinogen. The rush to invest in air fed helmets is absolute folly. Each individual area of welding needs to have its own COSHH assessment. 

For example if you are welding Mild steel using FCAW or MIG this is predominantly a trivalent reaction and gives off Chromium II which if you look in EH40 the WEL is 0.5 mg/m3. We sample on a regular basis and get indicitive readings generally of 0.0006mg/m3. if you then stuck someone in a PFF3 at a APF of times 20, that in theory gives you protection to a theoretical value of 10mg/m3 so why would you buy an air fed.

Then take the scinario if you were welding mild steel using MMA then this would create Chromium VI which is a hexavalent reaction,  and, as noted has been redesignated a carcinogen with a WEL of 0.05mg/m3. Given you get the same indicative readings of 0.0006mg/m3 then this is way below the WEL and you would be legally compliant to utilise PFF3 protection.

In all scenarios you really need to try to facilitate engineering controls where possible. But to just go for air fed is ludicrous. If you look at the example above you would simply say use MIG where possible. As I said its about the assessment. 

The best way if you are in  a workshop of keeping the team safe is to utilise flexible LEV and make sure the team know how to fully make use of it and extract the full plume. That way they should get 0mg/m3 of anything so why on earth would you give them an air fed mask as well.

I am not sure that I entirely agree on this point. The minute that product is confirmed a carcinogen all things change.

I refer to section 49 of EH40 which includes a requirement that exposure of carcinogenic and mutagenic substances be reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable. This provision extends to section 7(5) and (7) of COSHH and in particular the COSHH ACoP.

Roundtuit  
#23 Posted : 21 February 2019 21:44:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

E R I C P D why the wailing hands about beards and RPE - the duty has always been about protection spend wisely even on the eve of Brexit changes to the Carcinogens Directive and the shift of OEL determination to ECHA means those who seek to conduct a Cheapest Available Technology will only be storing future liability Get it right first time through the heirarchy even if it means outsourcing to more suitably equipped providers
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