Guidance on exposure to Welding Fume Extraction
In February 2019, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) issued a safety alert updating its advice regarding the risks and controls of exposure to welding fumes. This is intended for those who undertake welding activities, including mild steel, and in any industry.
- Due to the reclassification of welding fume as a carcinogen, there is now no safe limit to exposure
- General workplace ventilation would not be considered an acceptable solution
- The HSE recommend that engineering control solutions must be put in place for all welding, including outdoor work, and work of short duration.
Our qualified in-house engineers hold a Professional Certification (P604) from the Health and Safety industry body, BOHS, and recommend companies follow the latest advice based on the Hierarchy of Control.
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)
BEAM have extensive experience providing Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems for extraction of welding fume at source ranging from individual workstations to factory wide installations.
We have a wide range of welding fume extraction arms ranging from 1m – 7m in length which provide extraction at the source.
Our equipment range has unique innovations in the design which provides the following benefits to the operators;
- Exo-parallelogram support is positioned on the outside of the extract hose therefore it avoids contamination with dust and soot which can lead to failure of internal hose supports.
- The external hose is very accessible for service and maintenance and is available as a spare part in lengths to suit the client’s needs which reduces ongoing costs and downtime.
- The support uses gas-struts to counterbalance the weight. This is a superior design which out-performs the commonplace alternative which is friction & spring types.
- Our extract arms feature a flanged inlet which greatly improves the effective capture distance. In practice, this allows for fewer movements to reposition the arm over the workpiece and minimises the operator input and improves productivity.
- We can offer control systems from basic manual operation to fully automatic start/stop and demand control of fans.
In some situations, it may not be practical to install fixed extraction arms, so a further solution could be Portable Fume Extraction, comprising of extract arm and integrated filtration unit. The picture below shows a free-standing mobile unit complete with integrated filter which is designed to provide weld fume extraction throughout a workshop floor.
BEAM can supply various options ranging from low cost disposbable filter systems to high specification HEPA units to suit individual requirements. Get in Touch to discuss your requirements.
Welding Fume Extraction Enclosures at Robot Cells
Following the principles outlined within the Hierarchy of welding control, some manufacturers have introduced robotic welding cells which completely remove the operators from harm. Beam can advise on suitable extract systems, including enclosures, extract capacity, and offer complete solutions comprising the design, supply, installation and validation of the equipment.
The first picture shows an example of a telescopic extraction arm located at a welding robot in a retracted position to facilitate product set-up and service. The second picture shows the extraction arm extended to the working position.
On-torch weld fume extraction solutions
This consists of a proprietary welding gun with integrated suction nozzle at the tip. This system can be beneficial where no other extract solution can be deployed due to restrictions within the location where the work is carried out.
Bohs website have a fume extract selector tool for owners which may be useful;
Beam can offer specialist high vacuum extraction equipment and matching ducting system to implement an on-torch extract system. We have a demonstration unit available and can offer a trial and further advice to suit our client’s individual requirements.
To arrange a demonstaration or to speak to an in-house engineer, please contact us