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Evaluation of controls used to reduce welding fume exposures.

Wallace M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :52
This report summarizes the data collected during a major control technology study of welding operations conducted at seven field sites. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of various engineering control measures in reducing welding fume exposures. Welding parameters varied at each location; however, all used arc welding techniques. Types of arc welding evaluated included shielded metal (stick or SMAW), gas metal (GMAW or MIG), flux cored (FCAW), and gas tungsten (CTAW or TIG), Metals welded included aluminum, mild steel, galvanized steel and stainless steel. Five studies were conducted at industrial sites, while two studies were conducted at a union training center for welders and at a vocational school. The majority of evaluated control measures were classified as ventilation units, including portable and fixed local exhaust hoods, canopy hoods, and fume extraction welding guns. At one industrial site, rather than using ventilated measures, fume levels were controlled by modifying the process that involved using pulsed arc welding techniques in place of conventional GMAW techniques. During each field study, industrial hygiene air samples were collected to determine total welding fume concentrations and levels of airborne metals. The NIOSH analytical methods for total particulates (0500) and elements (7300) were followed. Additional information on total welding fume exposures was collected using real-time aerosol instrumentation. Results indicated that the ventilated controls ranged from being completely ineffective (a canopy hood system) to very effective, reducing workers' fume exposures by up to 83% (a fume extraction gun system), The process modification control method resulted in a 24% reduction in welding fume exposures. Overall, however, even with controls, exposure levels for total welding fume and metals such as hexavalent chromium, arsenic, and manganese occasionally still exceeded limits set by the ACGIH, NIOSH, and OSHA.
Engineering-controls; Environmental-control-equipment; Industrial-environment; Industrial-exposures; Welding; Welders; Welding-industry; Arc-welding; Arc-welders; Fumes; Metal-fumes; Metallic-fumes; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Control-methods; Control-systems; Gas-welders; Metal-workers; Metals; Metal-compounds; Aluminum-compounds; Stainless-steel; Industrial-ventilation; Education; Training; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-hoods; Ventilation-systems; Exhaust-hoods; Exhaust-ventilation; Air-sampling; Analytical-methods; Hexavalent-chromium-compounds; Arsenic-compounds; Manganese-compounds
7429-90-5; 12597-68-1; 18540-29-9; 7440-38-2; 7439-96-5
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division