New Workplace Exposure Standards for Welding Fumes

Australian Work Health and Safety Ministers have responded to worker safety concerns by implementing an immediate reduction in the workplace exposure standard (WES) for welding fumes, effective from 18 January 2024 in South Australia. The WES for welding fumes has been reduced from 5 mg/m3 to 1 mg/m3, aiming to safeguard workers from potential lung diseases associated with welding activities. Welding processes can produce a complex mix of hazardous chemicals, including ozone, and the health effects of exposure range from respiratory irritation to more severe conditions like asthma and lung damage. Employers must adhere to the updated WES and ensure workers are not exposed to any airborne contaminant above the concentration specified in the Workplace Exposure Standards. For comprehensive guidance on managing risks associated with welding, including exposure to welding fumes, refer to the model Code of Practice on welding processes. For further information, visit the SafeWork SA website by clicking below.

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