Workplace Monitoring for Metals in Welding Fume

Walk around your workplace. Where is there potential for exposure to substances that might be hazardous to health? Examples include processes that emit dust, fume, vapour, mist or gas; and skin contact with liquids, pastes and dusts. Substances with workplace exposure limits (WELs) are hazardous to health.

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When welding metals, a complex airborne mixture of metal fumes, particulates and gases can be generated which can have serious personal health implications.  The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) states that in order to determine the airborne health risk, air monitoring may be needed as well as the assessment of engineering control measures. The welding of stainless steel during the manual metal arc (MMA) is of particular concern as the fumes generated may contain nickel and hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium compounds are defined as asthmagens (REF) and both metals can cause lung cancer.

MSSL offers a comprehensive service for the analysis of welding fume. Filter samples collected are analysed for heavy metals by acid digestion and ICP spectrometry to determine levels in the workplace atmosphere.