How We Identify & Control Welding Fumes

3 June 2022

Customers of Fussey Engineering will know that we take the management of welding fume risks very seriously. We know that exposure to such fumes can result in the onset of asthma, pneumonia, cancer and other medical conditions. And we comply with the legislation, taking essential measures for the identification and control of fumes. Keep on reading as we detail our comprehensive approach to this important safety issue.

Risk profile

The Fussey Engineering team is often required to use welding techniques in the fabrication of steel structures. This results in the airborne release of gases (mainly Nitrous Oxide and Ozone) and extremely fine particles. The level of risk varies, depending on the toxicity, concentration and period of exposure to the fumes. However, it must be taken seriously given the HSE’s reclassification of mild steel fume as a human carcinogen. There’s always the possibility of a call and spot check being carried out by a HSE inspector.

Control measures

There are three main ways of limiting welding fume risks, based on the hierarchy of risk controls. The top recommendation is to completely avoid or reduce exposure to the greatest possible extent. This is often impossible, given the types of steel fabrication projects that we are asked to work on. However, we do adopt the next best measure, with our welding extraction system removing the fume at source. Our welders are also required to wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to further reduce the risk of inhalation.

Assessments & Checks

We carry out regular risk assessments, considering the nature of welding operations and metals that our team members work with. The focus ranges from typical metal particulates, where welders are expected to weld mild steel, to full gas exposure testing, where there is a need for MMA, TIG and Flame based welding techniques. Steps are taken to minimise the need for welding and production of fumes wherever possible.

We also follow the HSE recommendations, ensuring the continued effectiveness of risk control methods in the following ways:

  • Following instructions on how to use equipment
  • Keeping equipment in working order
  • Repairing equipment immediately after the identification of faults
  • Looking for signs of damage on a daily basis
  • Getting a competent ventilation engineer to thoroughly test and examine the extraction system and its performance at least every 14 months
  • Keeping records of all examinations and tests for at least 5 years
  • Reviewing records and controls when anything changes in our workplace.

Our commitment to health and safety extends to the performance of regular health checks. We collect data for the detection and evaluation of health hazards, alerting and taking essential action on the identification of any changes in health status. And we perform regular reviews to ensure the continued effectiveness of our control measures. Each of our staff members are aware of the procedures that should be followed for the identification and report of symptoms.

The Fussey Engineering Assurance

As CE Approved Steel Fabricators we have an appointed coordinator, with expertise across the full range of welding processes. And our fully qualified team of CE approved fabricators have additional qualifications in weld defect identification and causation. If you’d like further reassurance or information about our comprehensive risk control programme then you can always give us a call on 01469 540644 or email

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