The Welding Fume Team, which comprises a number of organisations including BOC, the Welding Association and HSE, have created The Bad Air Day website to provide support and resources to those affected by exposure to various gases when welding. Aimed at both employees and employers, the website seeks to raise awareness of the issue and was spearheaded by the Health & Safety Executive.

Many gases can be given off when welding, including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and ozone. The term ‘fume’ also covers visible airborne residue, such as particles of metal, oxide or flux. Many metals used in welding wire, such as nickel, manganese and chromium, are subject to WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits). The fume created by stainless steel MIG welding wire has a lower WEL than MMA equipment usage and it is therefore preferable to use MIG and MAG welding techniques for stainless steel.

TIG welding wire is not normally introduced directly into the arc, generating less-visible fume particles. When using this product and technique, the health risk posed by gases in the fume cloud becomes as dangerous as that presented by metal particulate.

Reducing the incidence of respiratory ill-health from welding and thermal cutting is the ultimate goal of the Welding Fume Team, who work together to promote improved working practices and cause changes in perception and behaviour within the multi-faceted industry.

As the UK’s largest supplier of stainless steel wire for welding, tying and forming applications, BS Stainless welcome news of the organisation’s new and improved website.