Welding Hazards – Gases & Fumes
Welding joins pieces of metal by the use of heat, pressure or both. Welding is among the most dangerous industrial activities. It requires an enormous degree of precautionary planning because of the risk of personal injury. Gases and fumes can be significantly reduced with process controls and shielding gases.
Science is just discovering the real danger of the toxic fumes and smoke from welding. Simple operations release fumes containing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, manganese, etc. Even simple welding work requires the use of respiratory protection or ventilation.
Exposure to welding fumes and smoke is alleged to have serious short-term and long-term health effects and may cause problems to the lungs, heart, kidneys and central nervous system. The safety professional should maintain an awareness of these potential hazards, current workplace compliance requirements and the ever-changing regulations and legislation for welding operations.