The employer has the primary responsibility to ensure that welding fume exposure is controlled, and welders are protected. The two key points regarding employer responsibility are as follows:

 If employers are unsure whether the welding fume exposures at their workplace exceeds the relevant exposure standard, OH&S regulations require that they must ensure air monitoring is carried out.

 Under both the Australian Work, Health and Safety Laws and the New Zealand Health and Safety at Work Regulations, the employer is financially responsible for providing PPE to workers and must not charge anyone for using PPE.

When selecting suitable PPE, the employer, where reasonable, should consult with the welders. A welder’s knowledge, experience and personal preferences improve the overall decision-making process. As someone who is directly affected by welding hazards, a welder is entitled to take part in the consultation process and selection of suitable PPE.

Personal preferences are the key to user acceptance – so look for gear that welders feel comfortable wearing. As a welder, you should aim to educate yourself on the risks, understand the appropriate PPE available and look to involve yourself in the consultation process and ultimate selection of suitable PPE.

AWS takeaway

Welding fume is serious. Action is required.

Ready to take action against welding fume? For a comprehensive breakdown and in-depth examples of how suitable controls can be properly implemented, you can download the AWS Practical Guide to Welding Fume Control for free below.

Practical Guide To Welding Fumes