What are the health hazards of not having an industrial air filtration system in a welding shop or machine shop? Series

There are many different types of welding processes—each that come with their own related risks. Below are the health effects of breathing welding fumes published by OSHA, along with an OSHA fact sheet for download.

  • Acute exposure to welding fume and gases can result in eye, nose and throat irritation, dizziness and nausea. Workers in the area who experience these symptoms should leave the area immediately, seek fresh air and obtain medical attention.
  • Prolonged exposure to welding fume may cause lung damage and various types of cancer, including lung, larynx and urinary tracts.
  • Health effects from certain fumes may include metal fume, fever, stomach ulcers, kidney damage and nervous system damage. Prolonged exposure to manganese fume can cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
  • Gasses such as helium, argon and carbon dioxide displace oxygen in the air and can lead to suffocation, particularly when welding in confined or enclosed spaces. Carbon monoxide gas can form, posing a serious asphyxiation hazard.