Support for welding safety scheme

National trade body the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) is backing a national campaign to raise the profile of health protection in welding.

New posters from the Welding Fume Team, which explain the importance of safe working practices in managing welding fume, have been produced under the Bad Air Day initiative.

Bad Air Day is an initiative from The Welding Fume Team, of which BCGA is a prominent member. The team comprises of organisations including HSE, major welding equipment and safety suppliers, engineering firms, and the Unite union.

Carrying messages, including ‘Keep Your Lungs Clear – Use the Right Gear’ and ‘Look After Your Team, Safe Welding – Healthy People,’ the posters urge employers and employees alike to take responsibility to avoid the hazards of welding fume.

The posters can now be downloaded for free from the BCGA website www.bcga.co.uk

The BCGA website also features a dedicated area for welding, entitled ‘Welding Matters,’ which is available to view under the ‘Gas Topics’ section.

This online area signposts viewers to the Bad Air Day initiative and also offers a wealth of further information on the topic, including links to the BCGA Safety Alert on the hazards of welding fume, listed as Technical Information Sheet (TIS) 24.

Doug Thornton, chief executive of BCGA said, ‘The posters convey powerful messages and we want to see these getting out into all areas where welding takes place.’

‘Welding, brazing and cutting are essential processes in manufacturing industry and all these processes depend crucially on industrial gases.’

‘Precautions should be taken to avoid the inhalation of welding fume, not only by operatives doing the welding, brazing and cutting, but by others working nearby too.’

‘Welding Fume can permanently and severely affect health and foreshorten life – and it needn’t do.’

‘Employers, their safety managers and welders themselves should be aware of the legal responsibilities to provide a safe working environment and to adequately train personnel in best operating practices.’

‘Key to meeting these requirements is the provision of good fume extraction or Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV), supported, where appropriate, by the best available PPE, such as air masks.’

‘However, too often we see that whereas the welder himself is protected by such, other workers operating or walking close by are not suitably protected or trained.’