Scaled Management Systems

Welding fumes

Ventilation system reduces welders’ exposure to airborne contaminants


In a shipyard workshop, the arc welding of steel was producing airborne contaminants as fumes and gasses. The reliance on natural dilution ventilation was considered inadequate for minimising the excessive amounts of fumes and gasses to which the welder was exposed.

Welding fumes can cause chronic or longer term illnesses to those exposed, and dependent on concentrations health effects may be experienced after only a short period of exposure.


The shipyard introduced a portable ventilation system. The captive ventilation system consists of flexible ducting connected to a portable air cleaning device. The unit provides air velocity at the hood face of between 0.5 and 1.0 m/s. The flexible duct allows the captor hood to be placed close to the source of contamination.

The new system includes an air cleaning unit which filters air mechanically and by electrostatic precipitation. Also, a light is fitted in the hood to assist in illuminating the job for the welder.

Hierarchy of Control:



  • The introduction of the ventilation system reduced fume into the breathing zone by an estimated 85-90%.
  • This improved the health of employees and employer / employee relations.