Do Welders need to wear respirators?
In February 2019, the HSE strengthened its enforcement expectation for all welding fume protection methods, including mild steel welding because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control. There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen. More information can be seen at http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.html.
The new fume control regulation was created to protect the welder and anyone else in the area that inhales welding fumes. The first requirement is to make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls, typically LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation). Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
Putting the LEV Regulatory Compliance to the side for the moment, let’s look at how to protect the welder and the people in the welding area.
What Respirator Should I use for Welding?
- The Elipse P3 Protective Respiratory Mask SPR501
Don’t want to throw away your trusty Welding Helmet? Consider the Elipse P3 Respirator. The Elipse P3 Respirator SPR501 is a high-quality half mask, perfect for both DIY & Commercial use. It can be used for a range of work, such as stonemasonry, metalworking & welding. It carries the highest classification for a particulate filter and achieves 99.98% at 0.3-micron efficiency.
The Elipse P3 R Nuisance Odour respirator combines a particulate filter with an activated carbon cloth to provide the ability to remove low level odours. It will protect against all of the contaminants listed above, plus the additional contaminants listed below. Typical applications would be in food processing, pharmaceutical production and laboratories. Replacement filters available.
You can buy this mask at: https://norsemensafety.co.uk/elipse-spr501-p3-respiratory-mask.html
- Fits comfortably under most Welding Helmets
- Cost Effective
- Easy-to-replace Filters
- Requires Face Fit testing on an annual basis – this can be done through the supplier you purchase the product from
- You must be clean shaven to safely use this product
- The Miller PAPR w/Titanium 9400 Helmet
Need to Weld & Grind but haven’t got the patience for button fiddling on the side of your helmet? Take a look at the Miller PAPR Air fed Welding Helmet (Powered Air Respirator).
You can buy this helmet at: https://norsemensafety.co.uk/miller-papr-w-titanium-9400i-helmet.html
- Lift-Up-Front makes Grinding easy while still protected from fumes
- Lightweight 1.47kg Blower
- 3-Year Warranty on Automatic Lenses (ADF) & 2 Year Warranty on the Battery
- InfoTrack™ Miller Technology
- Large Viewing Area
- Comfortable Headband
- No ‘Clean Shaven’ requirements for safe use
- Not as light as the other respiratory options
- Higher price compared to other respiratory options
- Only useful for Welders – not suitable for other applications requiring respiration
- TheClean Space Powered Air Respirator ‘The All Rounder’
Welding, Grinding or Working in & around Welding? The Clean Space (PAPR) Powered Air Respirator is the air fed mask for you!
You can buy this mask at: https://norsemensafety.co.uk/cleanspace-2-powered-respirator.html
- Can be used as an Air Fed Welding mask, as it fits under most Welding Helmets
- Single masks can be purchased to use on one Power Pack – this is great for shift workers
- Lightweight & compact
- No Hoses, Cables or Belt mounted battery packs
- 8 Hours Run Time
- No Servicing or Maintenance requirements
- Suitable for Metal fabrication & Welding, Chemical or Biological material handling, Maintenance & Cleaning, Grain & Food Handling, High dust environments and Stone, Cement & Concrete handling.
- Face Fit testing required – this can be done by the supplier
- Clean Shaven is required for safe use of the product
Blog written by Norsemen Safety & Welder’s Choice Ltd.