Welding Fume Control Selector Tool

This web-tool is designed to complement the information on the Breathe Freely in Manufacturing webpages. It provides guidance on welding fume control for common welding tasks. A panel of experts from industry, consultancies, academia and the HSE formed a working group to create this web-tool in order to inform managers and supervisors of welders about the best welding fume controls available to protect their health.


This web-tool is not a substitute for a full and properly conducted risk assessment and any recommendations should be considered carefully together with the circumstances of the individual job and work location.


The Control and Management sheets that accompany each recommendation may suggest more suitable alternatives in some cases, as well as containing advice regarding proper use and training on any suggested equipment.

What the selector tool does


You only have to answer 4 simple task-related questions and the tool will produce a guidance sheet with the optimum control solution based on the responses.


The tool recognises that under some site-specific circumstances, it may not be possible, or affordable, to use the optimum control solution. Therefore, at the end of the selected guidance sheet you will find other alternative acceptable control solutions.


The tool also ranks the control solutions using a familiar 5-star rating. This is based on the overall likely effectiveness of fume control. The 5-star rating combines the two key elements of:


  1. How well the control solution can effectively capture welding fume when it is of a design which matches the needs of the process, is kept in good working order and is used correctly.

  2. The reliability of the control solution to work effectively. This element of reliability is essential to minimise exposure to the fume consistently. When a control is heavily reliant on the user adopting good working practice every time without fail, the actual likelihood of achieving effective fume control will be low.


The selector makes the assumption that the user has considered the need to carry out the welding task using the selected metal type or welding technique, and that the user has considered other alternative ways to carry out the task which would  prevent or minimise exposure to welding fume.




What it doesn’t do


The selector does not cover the other health and safety hazards associated with welding tasks. These hazards are still important and should be covered in your risk assessment.


Welding in a confined space must only be carried out when absolutely necessary, as this is a high risk task. This tool does not detail all of the risks associated with working in a confined space.


This tool does not cover the allied processes, such as workpiece preparation and weld dressing using techniques like grinding, chemical paint removal or surface cleaning.




The welding fume control sheets


Based on the answers you select regarding your welding task, the web-tool will produce a sheet with the optimum solution to control exposure to welding fume.


The control sheets ( click here to download ) are intended to be a starting point to enable you to get assistance from a competent supplier, who will provide a suitable and effective solution.


On the control sheets you will also find links to additional information documents. These documents are related to the management programmes ( click here to download ) needed to ensure that controls are effective and regular checks are made, so welders are protected from developing occupational lung disease.

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© British Occupational Hygiene Society