Changes to Workplace Exposure Standards for Welding Fumes


A commonplace byproduct to encounter in the industrial workplace, welding fumes have the potential to cause significant harm to workers’ health and safety. Safe Work Australia has recently implemented changes to the exposure standards for welding fumes to ensure safer workplace practices. These alterations come as a crucial step towards safeguarding the well-being of workers that are subjected to harmful chemical fumes.

Key Points of the Update

  • New exposure standards: an immediate reduction in exposure standards for welding fumes has been enacted to reduce from an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) of 5 mg/m3 to 1 mg/m3.
  • Health & safety implications: the revised standards aim to enhance protection and reduce risks associated with exposure. It’s essential to review these changes to ensure compliance with the updated exposure standards.
  • Compliance considerations: we encourage you to assess your current chemical safety protocols and update them to align with the revised workplace exposure standards.
  • Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU): a PCBU must ensure that workers are not exposed to any airborne contaminant above the concentration listed in the WES list.
Safe Work Australia has recently implemented changes to the exposure standards for welding fumes to ensure safer workplace practices

Possible Steps You Could Take for Compliance

Perform a thorough assessment of your welding fume measures: this could involve evaluating ventilation systems, personal protective equipment (PPE) practices, and what different types of welding consumables are being used.

Monitor welding process controls: reducing the need for welding, as well as adopting alternative processes where possible, can help lessen the risk of exposure to welding fumes. Another possible method is to modify the welding process to control the generation of harmful fumes.

Review RPE selection and training protocols: It is of paramount importance to ensure welders are well-equipped with industry-standard respirators that meet the new exposure standards for proper protection. Moreover, proper training must be provided for correct use and maintenance.

How Chemwatch can help?

If you want to know more about the environmental and health effects of chemicals, or how to minimise risk while working with chemicals, we’re here to help. We have tools to help you with mandatory reporting, as well as generating SDS and Risk Assessments. We also have a library of webinars covering global safety regulations, software training, accredited courses, and labelling requirements. For more information, contact us today!


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