The NSW government’s Centre for Work Health and Safety is conducting new research with the University of Sydney and Curtin University on exposure to welding fumes.
A statement from SafeWork said the research sought to understand how different workers or industries use personal protective equipment, the equipment’s effectiveness, and workers’ understanding of possible long-term harm.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), recently re-classified welding fumes as “carcinogenic to humans” from “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
“The recent reclassification of welding fumes carcinogenicity has highlighted the need to better understand exposure to the fumes in a practical setting in order to protect NSW workers from long-term harm,” said SafeWork Director, Research and Evaluation, Skye Buatava.
Buatava added that it was important to understand which intervention strategies are effective in reducing exposure to fumes.
“Welding is a cross-industry technology and there is limited knowledge about this high-risk activity and the risk profiles among welders in Australia,” added lead researcher Professor Tim Driscoll.
“We want to know who is being exposed to these fumes, and what their levels of exposure are. This information is needed so appropriate control measures can be designed that minimise exposures as much as possible.”
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