Welding, glittering sparks and graceful curling fume are inseparable. It's almost a romantic image, with hard-working welders in the middle. However, the romance evaporates quickly if you understand what welding fumes are and what its composition may be.
Welding of stainless steel is a common process, which has increasing raised concerns for the working environment. Chromium is next to nickel one of the basic alloy element of all groups of stainless steels. During the welding process, chromium is converted to its hexavalent state, Chromium (VI).
In workplaces such as garages, bus depots, ferries and warehouses there is a lot of pollution, caused by diesel engines in vehicles. The engines produce toxic gases and particulates, that can cause serious health risks and legal liability. Although it is well known that these diesel fumes are toxic and that protective measures should be taken, that isn’t always done.
Two recent NIOSH Health Hazard Reports (HHEs) underscore the need for firefighters to use diesel exhaust extraction systems, even when firefighters are conducting routine running of the apparatus during equipment checks.