800-680-1220 / +1 651-490-2860 (US) All Locations

Welding Fume Monitoring

Capture Exposure Data for Worker Safety

Welding Fume Monitoring

Welding fumes pose a significant safety risk to your workers. An adequate system of monitoring and controlling for worker exposure is crucial to maintaining the health of your employees and achieving compliance with OSHA, NIOSH and other standards.

What Are Welding Fumes?

Welding fumes are the product of chemical reactions that occur flux core arc welding (FCAW), shielded metal arc welding (SCAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW or MIG) and tungsten inert gas welding (GTAW or TIG). 
Welding fumes consist of toxic metals and gases.

Metals Gases
Aluminum Copper Nickel Titanium Argon Nitric Oxide
Antimony Hexavalent Chromium Silver Vanadium Zinc Carbon Dioxide Nitrogen
Arsenic Lead Silver   Carbon Monoxide Nitrogen Dioxide
Berylium Manganese Tin   Fluoride Ozone
Cadmium Molybdenum     Helium Phosgene
Cobalt       Hydrogen  

Health Effects

Exposure to welding fumes, especially during projects with high arc-on time, can cause all sorts of complications. In the short term, these include nose and throat irritation, nausea and dizziness. However, prolonged exposure can cause various types of cancer, stomach ulcers, kidney and nervous system damage.

The Threat from Manganese

One of the more concerning threats facing welders is exposure to manganese dust, primarily in mining, ore-crushing and metallurgical operations. Studies suggest neurological and neurobehavioral  may occur with exposure levels of <0.2 mg/m3. NIOSH is currently reviewing its Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for manganese.

Understanding the Risk in Real-Time with Personal Aerosol Monitoring  

NIOSH recommends a hierarchy of controls to implement solutions to welding fume exposure. While eliminating the hazard entirely is the most effective method of protecting workers, that isn’t feasible in welding environments.

Area Monitoring vs. Personal Monitoring

Personal Monitoring

  • Monitor what’s getting under the welding mask of the user.
  • Determine whether and which engineering controls are necessary
  • Monitor the effectiveness of existing engineering controls.

Area Monitoring

  • Monitor what is migrating out of the worker zone.
  • Determine the effectiveness of ventilation.
  • Monitor impact to other workers.

Particle measures are critical to addressing the immediate health risks posed by welding fumes. The TSI SidePak™ AM520 Personal Aerosol Monitor gives the whole picture. Directly reading worker exposure throughout the day under the welding mask provides immediate information and logged data for reporting and analysis. Better data drives better decisions for worker safety in real time.

Ensuring that Your Masks Fit

If your safety program requires respiratory protection, it is crucial that you ensure your employees have properly fitting masks. TSI’s PortaCount Respirator Fit Tester is the most trusted solution on the market to identify poor fitting masks.

Interested in Learning More about Keeping Workers Safe?

Fill out the form below and a TSI Representative will be in touch with you shortly.