How To Avoid Overexposure To Welding Fumes & Gases - Airgas.com

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Welding Fumes & Gases – How to Avoid Overexposure

The American Welding Society (AWS) advises the following to protect against overexposure:
  • Keep your head out of the fumes
  • Do not breathe the fumes
  • Use enough ventilation or exhaust at the arc, or both, to keep fumes and gases from your breathing zone and general area
  • In some cases, natural air movement provides enough ventilation and fresh air
  • If ventilation is questionable, use air sampling to determine your exposure and the need for corrective measures.
  • Follow OSHA guidelines for permissible exposure limits (PELs) for various fumes.
  • Follow the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
  • recommendations for threshold limit values (TLVs) for fumes and gases.
  • Whenever the following materials are identified as other than trace constituents in welding, brazing, or cutting operations, and unless breathing zone sampling under the most adverse conditions has established that the level of hazardous constituents is below the allowable limits specified by the authority having jurisdiction, special ventilation precautions shall be taken: Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Lead,Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Ozone, Selenium, Silver, Vanadium. See section 5.5, Special Ventilation Concerns, ANSI Z49.1:2005, Safety inWelding, Cutting, and Allied Processes
  • Use mechanical ventilation to improve air quality.
  • If engineering controls are not feasible, use an approved respirator.
  • Work in a confined space only if it is well ventilated, or while wearing an air-supplied respirator. Fumes from welding or cutting and oxygen depletion can alter air quality causing injury or death. Be sure the breathing air is safe.
  • Have a recognized specialist in Industrial Hygiene or Environmental Services check the operation and air quality and make recommendations for the specific welding or cutting situation.

Source: AmericanWelding Society www.aws.org/Technical/facts Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 1 – 10/05 Fumes and Gases.

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