Best Welding Respiratory Protection to Use When Welding Aluminium

Article By: Team AWS

What welding respiratory protection should I use when working with aluminium? This is a common question we receive from Australian welding companies so we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the hazards and the Australian workplace exposure limits when welding aluminium and offer a basic guideline for welding respiratory protection.



The Hazards of Welding Aluminium

Aluminium can be found in many alloys e.g. Nickel-chromium, copper, zinc, steel, magnesium, brass and in filler materials. Breathing in fume containing aluminium, while not wearing a respirator, can lead to irritation of the respiratory system.



The Workplace Exposure Standards for Welding Aluminium

Currently the Australian Workplace Exposure TWA (Time Weighted Average) for Aluminium is set at 5 mg/m3.

This means that the maximum average airborne concentration of welding fume containing aluminium when calculated over an 8 hour working day, over a five day working week, must not exceed 5 milligrams of substance per cubic metre of air.



Welding Respiratory Protection When Welding Aluminium

The below can be used as a basic guideline of what respiratory protection could be worn based on process and ventilation when welding Aluminium. 

The below advice has only been offered as a basic guideline and should not be used as the only means of selecting a welding respirator. Always consult your safety engineer or an occupational hygienist.

Below are the recommendations when using Stick, MIG, TIG, Plasma Welding or Cutting.

Good environment with forced ventilation: A Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) is recommended.

Limited ventilation: Particle and gas filtration via powered air respirator with both a high efficiency particulate filter and A1 gas filter installed.

Restricted space: Supplied air is always recommended when working in a restricted space. Powered and supplied air respirators must never be used in atmospheres Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH).



Want to know more about welding safety equipment?

While this blog post offers a good starting point for what welding respiratory protection to use when welding aluminium, it is always best practice to discuss with a safety engineer or an occupational hygienist for more information. Furthermore, if you want more information on our range of welding helmets and welding safety equipment, please do not hesitate to contact the AWS team.