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New Improved Air Sampling for Welders

Posted: 1 February 2018


In a previous News article we highlighted the Breathe Freely campaign intended to raise awareness of the risks of respiratory issues faced by welders. As part of this campaign the British Occupational Hygiene Society have made members aware of sampling developments that greatly assist in the assessment of welding processes. The historical method of assessing exposures involves taking a sample from a head mounted on the lapel.

It has long been recognised that this technique is of limited value when trying to establish the levels of fume breathed in under the visor. Whilst the standard BS EN ISO 10882-1 advocates taking samples from the breathing zone of welders, this is difficult to achieve with usual sampling heads.

However, recent development work in Sweden has led to the development of “face-level” sampling headsets. These are similar to headsets used by telephonists with the speaker replaced by a small sampling head. These can be worn by welders under their visors and allow an accurate measurement of fume levels breathed in. This represents a quantum leap in the risk assessment process for occupations in which visors are used. These sampling heads are also well suited for other situations where lapel sampling may give an inaccurate exposure measurement, such as soldering.

Safety Management now uses these sampling headsets. If you'd like to arrange a sampling assessment, or would like more information, please contact Graham Newport.

Photo: Face-level sampling head-set courtesy of SKC Ltd

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