Introducing a hierarchy for welding fume control!

Article By: Team AWS

What is the hierarchy of control?

The hierarchy of control is a step-by-step system for controlling risks in a workplace. This framework is used across a range of industries and while it applies to welding, it was not built specifically for the welding industry.

So, while it is important to understand the overall framework, a control framework built specifically for welding fume may be valuable to those seeking to understand how to protect their welders or themselves.

To give you a more simplified and practical approach to controlling welding fume, we offer the ‘Practical Guide to Welding Fume Control’ comprising of three steps: 1. Mitigation of Risk, 2. Product Controls and 3. Administrative Controls.



1. Mitigation of Risk

While care must be taken to mitigate risks through elimination (e.g. removing surface coatings) and substitution (e.g. using less hazardous materials), if welding is to be done, welding fume will be present.

As a result, respiratory product controls and administrative procedures will be essential.



2. Product Controls

In relation to the hierarchy of controls, PPE is often referred to as the last resort.

However when it comes to welding, suitable PPE must always be worn and respiratory product controls are almost always required.



3. Administrative Controls

There are several options when it comes to procedural controls: minimising work conducted in restricted spaces, training on PPE, and ventilation maintenance to name a few. These should in turn be introduced to support any PPE and ventilation controls that have been put in place in your workplace.



Welding fume is serious. Action is required.

Ready to take action against welding fume? For a comprehensive breakdown and in-depth examples of how each of these steps can be properly implemented, you can download the AWS Practical Guide to Welding Fume Control for free below.

Download the Practical Guide to Welding Fume

We’ll also be giving the rundown on each individual step of this hierarchy for welding fume control in future blogs, so keep an eye out for new updates every week!

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