Friday, March 29, 2019


Change in Enforcement Expectations for Mild Steel Welding Fume

This is update is applicable to all workers, employers, self-employed, contractors’ and any others who undertake welding activities, including mild steel, in any industry.

There is new evidence available that identifies that exposure to all welding fume, including mild steel welding fume, can cause lung cancer. There is also limited evidence linked to kidney cancer.

Because of this, there has been a change in HSE enforcement requirements in relation to the control of exposure to welding fume, including fume from mild steel welding.

When completing any welding activities, employers must ensure effective engineering controls are in place and correctly used to control fume arising from the welding activities.

Where engineering controls are not adequate to control all fume exposure, further controls, must be implemented in the form of adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

The following points, must be considered when selecting and before wearing the selected RPE

  • Members are advised to only purchase RPE/PPE through a supplier, registered through the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Scheme

There have been reports of fake PPE bought and sold on the internet

  • The correct type and most suitable and sufficient RPE must be selected
  • Any tight fitting  RPE must be face fit tested to the wearers face

It is a legal requirement that workers using tight fitting respiratory protective equipment (face pieces/masks) must be fit tested by a competent person.

  • Face fit testing must be carried out by a Fit2Fit Accredited tester
  • Fit testing certificates, must be held for all persons wearing a tight fitting mask.
  • The correct filter must be selected and used for the welding process you are completing.

This may, in some cases require you to use a combination filter to protect against particles/chemicals/gases

Further information is available by following the links below


Selecting Respiratory Protective Equipment


Select a PPE supplier, registered through the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF)


Further information on weld fume and controls


Find a Fit2Fit Accredited tester

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