Even with everything that is now known about the dangers of welding fume, only 20 per cent of Australian and New Zealand welders answered ‘yes’ when they were asked if they felt protected from it at work.
Only 11 per cent of workplaces had engaged an occupational hygienist to conduct air monitoring and the majority of workplaces did not include welders in the personal protective equipment (PPE) decision making process (53 per cent) and expected the welders to pay for their own respiratory equipment (65 per cent).
Disturbingly, 32 per cent of welders are not using any form of respiratory protection and 37 per cent are still unaware that welding fume had been reclassified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Unfortunately, welders believe that cost is the largest barrier and the reason why businesses will not introduce better controls to protect their welders.
With the results above, it is clear Australia and New Zealand have a long way to go in the promotion of the safety and well-being of welders. However, increasing the level of knowledge regarding dangers and protective measures was only highlighted as the second largest factor in ensuring welders are better protected in the future.
The 2020 ‘Welding fume and respiratory protection’ report gives all the stats from the survey and then outlines the key information that separates the fact from the fiction, based on what the legislative, regulative or government bodies in Australia and New Zealand have stated.