welding safely

New welding rules coming into force

Posted on 30th Apr, 2019 | By Lorretta Tatham

A recent announcement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) affects both welders and the companies that employ them. The HSE has changed the classification of the fumes that get emitted as a result of welding. These include those created when working with mild steel which have been found to be damaging to human health.

Due to the changes, welding without wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is no longer allowed. This rule applies whether the welding is for one second, one minute or an hour. PPE such as protective overalls, a ventilated helmet with a clear visor, a pair of strengthened gloves and other equipment all contribute to a safe working environment for welders.

Which industries do the rules apply?

All industries are affected. For instance, in a car workshop environment, workers are at risk of breathing in too many exhaust fumes, including manganese, which is known to cause neurological problems later in life. Exhaust ventilation systems are required to keep the air cleaner for employees.

For farmers, their employees might perform quick fixes on equipment that’s broken with a welding torch to remedy the situation. Welding protective equipment is required in this situation despite the fact that it is unplanned and in the moment.


All staff must be updated about the new regulations. Relevant clean air systems and protective gear for welding must be made available to staff to adhere with the HSE requirements. Where training is required to know how to use the equipment properly and safely, training must be provided to all relevant staff members. Brown’s Safety Services provides equipment training courses to help companies stay in line with the regulations.

Review current risk assessments carefully

It’s not widely understood by welders or companies that employ them that fume exposure as a result of welding can be a cause of lung cancer. It’s also suspected that kidney cancer could also be a risk factor. New research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed the higher risk of cancer for welders.

Scientific findings like the one highlighted above clearly indicate the risk that welders face. The reality is that room-wide ventilation systems are insufficient to avoid inhaling dangerous fumes. This is why the new HSE regulations have come into force requiring all welders to wear the necessary personal protective equipment for their own health and safety.

Our goal is to help you stay safe

The new welding rules are a good reminder about worker health and safety concerns. As more is understood about the risks to workers, employers can act to provide a safer work environment for at-risk jobs.

Safety is at the centre of everything we do here at Browns Safety, and we have a range of courses aimed at helping you to keep yourself and your employees safe at work. These include courses for similarly dangerous equipment, such as abrasive wheels, which can all too easily pose the risk of injury or even death while operating them. We also offer first aid courses to help mitigate any injuries sustained at work. You can book your place on one of these courses by giving us a call on 01282 615517, or registering your interest on the page itself. Your safety is our priority!

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