Welding fume harms

Research question

What are the current work health and safety risks facing Australia’s welding industry due to welding fumes?  What intervention strategies may reduce welding workers’ exposure to harmful fumes?

What is this research about?

The long-latency period for occupational cancers and diseases, can cause a significant challenge to establish direct connection between welding fume exposure and lung cancer.

The recent IARC reclassification of welding fume carcinogenicity has highlighted the need to better understand welding and its effects to protect workers from long-term harm.

Currently, there is limited knowledge about workers’ levels of exposure to welding fume and protection from the effects of welding fumes on worksites in NSW. There is a need for greater understanding of the types of workers who are exposed to welding fume, the levels of exposure, the protections that are currently available to workers and the barriers and enablers to such protection.

What will the researchers do?

  1. Conduct a systematic literature review to understand the level of harm associated with welding fumes.
  2. Conduct a survey of Australian welding industries and occupations to understand:
    1. industries and occupations with high level of exposure to welding fume, including material/welding technology being used and levels of exposure;
    2. demographic characteristics and general health status of workers in industries and occupations with high level of exposure to welding fume;
    3. workers’ understanding of harms and control measures from the effects of exposure to welding fume.
  3. Conduct laboratory research to understand the efficacy of available controls and different practices used by welders.
  4. Conduct a qualitative study on barriers and enabling factors to promote, adopt, adhere and maintain currently available protections/control measures from the effects of exposure to welding.
  5. Develop and test intervention(s) to help reduce welding workers’ exposure

Research partners and stakeholders

The tenders are currently under review.

Timeline

Tender opens: 12 October 2020

Tender closes: 6 November 2020

Project commenced: December 2020

Project completion: May 2022

Want to know more?

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Further reading