The primary goal – at least as it relates to safety – in the welding environment is keeping fumes away from the user’s breathing zone while keeping a facility clean. To this end, fume extraction systems are included in OSHA’s Hierarchy of Controls for managing fumes and are designed to keep employees safe and comfortable.
The key in all this is helping welders find the fume extractor that best fits the environment and their fume control needs.
What Exactly are Fume Extractors?
In a welding environment, companies are obligated by law to maintain welding fumes – in what’s known as the “breathing zone” of a welder – below a particular threshold, and this is due to a number of potentially hazardous factors. Into this foray have come various effective solutions focusing on the extraction of welding fumes, notably the introduction of the fume extractor. Welding fume extractors are designed to be utilized as an engineering safety protocol to protect users from the aforementioned occupational hazards encountered during various welding applications.
Portable or mobile fume extractors are lightweight, high vacuum, low volume portable systems designed specifically for the light-duty extraction and filtration of welding fumes, making them the ideal choice for companies with few welding stations or small shops. These devices are unique in that they are lightweight and small enough to be easily carried to the welding area.
Why Welders Need to Consider Mobile Fume Extraction
As we have already covered, safety is among the chief priorities in the dangerous welding environment, and as such there should always be a consideration for helping welders remain safe while they’re dealing with metal fabrication and cutting processes. Welding and cutting fumes not only lead to health issues, they negatively affect production, resulting in reduced capacity, reoccurring disturbance and, eventually, decreased profit.
And no company wants to experience any of that.
Put simply, a fume extraction system that’s put in place within a welding environment will:
- Improve the workplace breathing quality
- Protect workers’ health
- Protect equipment and processes
- Reduce production disturbances and improve profit
The bottom line is that control of welding fume exposure is achieved through the help of extraction and ventilation, with the choice of such techniques dependent on circumstance. The overall goal is to capture the welding fumes as close to the source as possible, and this not only protects the welder but other workers, as well.
With that being said, let’s now take a look at the source as a factor.
The Most Effective Way to Extract Fumes: At the Source
Wherever it is considered a viable solution, it has been proven that extraction at the source represents the most efficient way of capturing and removing welding and associated fumes. The risk of the operator or welder, while utilizing this method, being exposed to hazardous fumes is minimized; what’s more, welding torches boasting integrated extraction protocols enable the welder to work over sweeping areas as well as within constructions. This also reduces heating and cooling costs by way of reducing the amount of heated/cooled air extracted from the premises.
The primary thing to remember when considering welding precautions is this: Good safety and health is good business.