Welding fume is a varying mixture of airborne gases and very fine particles that is formed as a by-product of welding. This advice is relevant to both new and existing systems.
It is created by welding carbon or stainless steel, and it was internationally classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Stainless steel welding poses serious health risks, and its welding fume is both a carcinogen and asthmagen. In 2017 the International Agency for Research on Cancer published evidence that all welding fume is potentially cancer-inducing in humans.
This Technical Note explains what employers need to do to protect workers from the hazards posed by welding fume, advice on where to obtain competent expert advice on extract ventilation systems and gives links to further guidance from the HSE.