According to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), all welding fumes are Group 1 carcinogenic to humans. Element’s welding fume exposure monitoring services help monitor your workers’ exposure to harmful welding fumes and ensure that you comply with the COSHH Regulations.

What is welding fume monitoring?

Welding fume monitoring measures personal exposure to airborne concentrations of hazardous substances emitted during the welding process, assesses the risks, and provides recommendations for appropriate control measures.


Is exposure to welding fumes harmful?

Research by the IARC indicates that exposure to all types of welding fumes, including fume from mild steel welding can cause several health conditions including lung cancer, kidney cancer, COPD, asthma, metal fume fever, siderosis, stomach ulcers, renal damage, and neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease (Manganism). 

All welding fume from all types of metal should be treated as capable of causing cancer, and the IARC has reclassified all welding fume, including fume from mild steel welding, as Group 1 carcinogenic to humans.


What are welding fumes exposure limits?

The Health & Safety Executive document EH40 contains a list of Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for use with COSHH.  

Substance WEL
Aluminum 10 mg/m3
Chromium 0.5 mg/m3

5 mg/m3

0.05 mg/m3


- Inhalable Fraction

- Respirable Fraction

0.2 mg/m3

0.05 mg/m3
Titanium 10 mg/m3
Nitrogen Oxide 2.5 mg/m3
Nitrogen Dioxide

0.955 mg/m3

1.91 mg/m3 STEL

Copper 0.2 mg/m3
Nickel 0.1 mg/m3
0.4 mg/m3 STEL
Chromium VI
(process generated)
0.025 mg/m3


The WELs above are based on an average 8-Hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) of exposure. 
Some substances have Short Term Exposure Limits (STEL) where concentrations must not exceed the limit over 15 minutes.

How does this affect you?

All businesses undertaking welding activities should ensure workers are protected from the inhalation risk of welding fumes by providing effective engineering controls for risk mitigation. For example, Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) when provided and correctly applied, will control fumes and gases arising from welding activities.

Where engineering controls are not sufficient to control all fume exposure, adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is also required to manage risk from the residual fume, including welding outdoors. You should ensure welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of these controls.

Regardless of duration, the UK HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure. Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.


Our welding fume exposure monitoring services

Element has one of the largest Occupational Hygiene teams in the UK and Europe, comprising a range of technically competent and qualified staff.

Our experienced team of qualified occupational hygienists can assist in:


The Element advantage

We offer a solutions-led, practical approach all to provide accurate data and advice you can trust to implement appropriate controls and protect your workforce.

We undertake air monitoring using the latest equipment, which is calibrated before and after sampling in accordance with ISO 10882 ‘Health & Safety in Welding and Allied Processes - Sampling of Airborne Particles and Gases in the Operator’s Breathing Zone.’ 

All sample analytical work is undertaken at UKAS-accredited analytical laboratories that participate in the AIR PT scheme.

We can also conduct a thorough examination and testing of LEV systems following the HSG258 and carry out risk assessments to determine if all engineering controls are used correctly.

Our experts are here to help you. 


For more information on welding fume exposure monitoring and how we can assist you, please contact us today.

  • HSG173 Monitoring strategies for toxic substances
  • BS EN ISO  10882 ‘Health & Safety in Welding and Allied Processes - Sampling of Airborne Particles and Gases in the Operator’s Breathing Zone’

Welding Fumes Safety Legislation Guide

Everything you need to know about welding fume safety. Understand how to reduce the risk of hazardous substance exposure & protect your employees.


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