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Welders Air Fed Respirators

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fs1982
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Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by fs1982 »

I've have searched and searched for this but cannot find an answer and hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

As part of our review of control of welding fumes etc over the past few months we have installed the use of LEV within our workshop but sometimes our work takes means that the LEV on it's own isn't enough (e.g when welding stainless, aluminium or galv steels) or when we are carrying out work outdoors it means that our welders have to use air fed masks (ours are 3M Adflo systems).

We have set up and record regular maintenance checks/component changes for the air fed masks in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions but do these require an annual examination/service by competent persons similar to the thorough examination of the LEV units under COSHH? If this is a requirement can someone point me in the direction of the legislation/guidance that tells me this?

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by Keith1983 »

Really good question this. I can't actually answer your exact query, but I will go off on a very slight tangent. When you had the LEV system installed did you spec a system that could cope with the stainless, alu, galv etc that you mention? If you did then you need to push back on the suppliers and get them to ensure they have delivered what was spec'd and agreed upon. I've seen it so many times, not just with LEV but with guarding etc also where the supplier does not deliver what was agreed and companies seem to accept this and go and spend more money to actually solve their issue.
So when the whole world is safe..............what are we going to do then?

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by fs1982 »

Due to the nature of the works we do which are very varied, we went with mobile extraction units and yes they should be able to cope with the limited stainless, aluminium, galv works but we haven't yet got air monitoring carried out to verify this (scheduled for early 2020) so in the mean time we insist that our welders wear the air fed masks when doing this type of work in our fabrication workshop as well as using the extraction. Most of the works we carry out are on bare mild steel. Once the air monitoring us carried out we are confident that the results will show the units on their own will be sufficient for works within our fabrication workshop.

We do a lot of outdoors works on our customers sites however so the air fed masks will still be required and I want to make sure I've got the maintenance and inspection regime right.

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by fs1982 »

On another forum I've been guided to HSE's HSG53 publication so will read up on that as my next step.

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by stephen1974 »

If its an air fed mask then the air quality needs to be tested at least every 3 months.

In regards to the units alone comments. Are you talking about the mobile extraction units? they wont be sufficient to use alone as they won't remove 100% of the fumes. The person doing the welding will still need a mask of some sorts, though not necessarily an airfed mask. A FFP2 or FFP3 disposable should be sufficient I would have thought.

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by Blackstone »

Was going to mention testing of the air quality if using air fed welding masks and Stephen above said exactly what is was going to.
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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by PaulDonaldson »

Just a note of caution from me on the use of LEV. According to the new wl3 control of weld fume guidance, it depends on the size of the piece you are welding.
This is what they say for large pieces

LEV for welding on large and extra-large workpieces
These are workpieces that are typically too large to transport to a
work bench, eg bigger than a small car and may be part of a large
construction project.
✓ Use on-torch extraction as this is the most effective fume control for
MIG welding when it is set up and used correctly.
✓ For other types of welding where on-torch extraction cannot be used,
use LEV with a movable fume capture hood.
✓ Ensure the correct set-up so it can be used without compromising
weld integrity.
✓ On-torch extraction is effective because:
– the extraction is integrated with the welding gun;
– the extraction moves with the weld;
– the extraction is very close to the source at all times; and
– it does not rely on the welder to reposition the extraction to
maintain good fume capture.
✓ Be aware of the limitations of this on-torch extraction design:
– The extraction unit needs to be located close to the welding area.
Therefore, it is not always practical to use when welding is carried
out while working at height.
– Research has shown that on-torch is more effective when groove
welding on a flat surface (eg. downhand, horizontal or vertical) than
when fillet welding or groove welding in the overhead position.

So basically, and this has been bourne out following a recent inspection, they want you to have on gun extraction if its large pieces you are welding.
It doesnt say anything about the maintenance of the RPE at all. What do the manufacturers say about it?
Paul
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Re: Welders Air Powered Respirators

Post by fs1982 »

Thanks for your responses folks. I've maybe caused some confusion with the thread title as it is actually the air powered respirators we are using (3M Adflo type) rather than air fed breathing apparatus style so the 3 month tests on the air supply aren't relevant. (thread title now been amended).

At the moment, we have operators carrying out and recording daily pre-use checks and recording the changing of any components in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. I'm waiting on a response from the manufacturer at the moment to see if they can offer further guidance.

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by stretch3144 »

Great thread. Very useful advice here. Are the pre-use checks a requirement or just good practice?

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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by kevlarion »

All that's required for powered filter welding masks (like the adflow) is that the operator is trained to check them, they are stored in a clean space (eg a locker, the adflow comes with a holdall so that's fine), and if anything goes wrong you have spares to hand. The more upmarket ones have indicators to tell you when the filter needs changed, but the cheaper ones need you to do an airflow test by golding a widget over the hose connector, which is a pain.
There's no legally required periodic check, but you have a duty to make sure the mask, belt, hose etc is all in good order, so you might want to put in formal operator checks once a week / month / however long you think is suitable and make sure you have a reporting and repair system in place.
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Re: Welders Air Fed Respirators

Post by fs1982 »

Kevlarion this is what we have put in place thanks. They check the equipment over at the start of every day and formal recorded checks once per week as our guys are full time welders with some heavy duty works involved; we also document all component changes on each unit.

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