Welding Guide: When to provide General Ventilation?

In this blog, Auto Extract Systems Ltd are reviewing when HSE recommend when to, and when not to provide general ventilation for the safe capture and removal of welding fume from the workplace. HSE revised their welding COSHH control guidance sheets in November 2019 (read the full blog here). The guidance sheets provide task-specific guidance for welding and cutting tasks to help managers ensure that welding fume exposure was controlled.


The ‘WL3 – Welding Fume Control’ guidance sheet states that it is necessary to minimise the build-up of welding fume where it is not fully removed by local exhaust (LEV). In most welding workshops, mechanical general ventilation is required to ventilate the working environment, as through-draughts from open doors and windows are not sufficient to disperse the fume generated from welding tasks; nor always practical in the colder months of the year. 


Auto Extract Systems Ltd always recommend extraction at-source, find out about out capture philosophy here. However, to provide additional general ventilation, as a secondary measure in workshops, we recommend ‘wrap-around’ general ventilation LEV systems.

These wrap around systems typically consist of two runs of ducting, which stretch the length of a workshop and feature a series of louvred grilles. The grilles capture and remove welding fume plumes that have risen and settled in the hot air just below the roofline. This layer of hot dispersed fumes is typically referred to as the ‘dirty band’. The fan then vents captured welding fumes to the atmosphere in accordance with HSG258 guidelines on ‘Controlling Airborne Contaminants at Work: A Guide to Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)’ and conform with HSE inspection standards.

Although, this isn’t a wrap-around general ventilation’s only benefit. After installing a bespoke and innovating ‘wrap-around’ general ventilation system for a Welsh manufacturer, their maintenance manager found the system was a great resource and success in the height of Summer to draw heat (from manufacturing plant and workstations) out of the building when temperatures had exceeded 30oC. Read the full case study here.


Get in touch today to find with Auto Extract Systems Ltd today to find out more about general ventilation for welding fume extraction. Contact us via email, or call us today for a no-obligation discussion on +(0)1942 267444; in addition, keep in touch with us on our social media channels: FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn for updates.

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