How to Use a Welding Fume Extractor Safely

Date: 22-12-2020

Alphaweld Supply Group are proud to offer our premium welding fume extractor range for sale in Australia.
Our reliable, durable machines are built with welders in mind, designed to extract harmful dust, smoke and fumes from your workspace, and protect your and your workers’ lungs.
We offer competitive pricing, outstanding customer service and fast dispatch.
Our extractors enable you to run a compliant safe work environment.
However, to get the most out of our fume extractors, it’s important to take proper care while using and positioning the extraction hood. Here are our top tips for using our welding fume extractors safely:

1. Draw fumes away from the welder  

Fume extractors are designed to draw fumes away from and not toward the welder. Exposure to welding fumes can cause lung damage and some kinds of cancer, especially after prolonged exposure, so it is vital that the extractor is doing its job and stopping the welder from breathing in fumes. This is important because even small amounts of fume inhalation can cause health problems. Work Safe Queensland report that the most frequent acute respiratory complaint among welders is metal fume fever, a common self-limiting febrile illness of short duration that may be caused by exposure to welding fumes that contain zinc, copper, magnesium and cadmium.

Persistent pulmonary bronchitis is also a frequent problem. For this reason, the hood should be placed to the left or right of the welder, and ideally facing them, to provide adequate protection.

It is also important to ensure the extractor position is ergonomic, as just like office workers, welders can experience discomfort and fatigue from a poor standing or seated position. Make sure it is easy and comfortable to access welds to reduce fatigue.

2. Choose the right location for your fume extractor  

As with any machinery, it is important to choose the best location for your fume extractor very carefully. The fume extractor is an essential part of your working space, but it should not be positioned in any way that restricts your movement or working ability.

It is also important to ensure that all cables, parts and the vacuum itself if you are using a portable fume extractor, are positioned away from hazards and won’t cause you or any member of your staff to trip.

If you have a large factory, you may like to use a point-of-use layout, where each welder has their own extractor, just make sure that each extractor is placed close to each workstation.

Alternatively, if you run a smaller space, a centralized layout may be your best option, in which case the network of the ducts, as well as the sharing of the fume arm, will be your biggest considerations.

Finally, ensure your fume extractor is positioned away from drafts.

3. Consider all parts of the extractor as equal  

When it comes to a fume extractor, it’s easy to place all the emphasis on the extractor hose itself and forget that the vacuum also needs to be high powered and efficient and capable of drawing the target flow.

4. Enforce proper use and training  

Some of the worst outcomes of welding occur when machinery is not used safely or in accordance with training. You can reduce the risks by ensuring that all staff are properly trained to use fume extractors correctly, as well as all other machinery and tools. The better you and your staff understand risks, the easier it will be to mitigate those risks. For example, it is important not to bend the arm of the fume extractor, as this may reduce airflow. Invest in a fume extractor that has an adequate arm length and fume extraction, rather than try to adjust an existing extractor that falls short.

Shop our Premium Range of Welding Fume Extractors  

Alphaweld have been supplying premium welding fume extractors to Australian industries for over a decade. We will be happy to help you find the right extractor for your welding business. Browse our online store or contact us to learn more about any one of our products.