Our company has been an industry trailblazer across North America, delivering welding fume extraction solutions since the 1980s. This article offers insights into the exposure limits recognized in Yukon for several of the most prevalent hazardous gases and metals found in welding fumes.

When a metal is subjected to temperatures exceeding its boiling point, fumes are produced as the vapors condense into exceedingly fine particles. The particle size varies between 0.005 to 20 µm, with most being smaller than 1 µm and able to deposit throughout the respiratory system.

The makeup of the fume is contingent on several factors including the material being welded, the electrode, the flux, the coatings, and the shielding gas, among others. Air sampling is typically necessary to identify which hazardous and regulated substances are present in your workspace. However, obtaining information about the metals, gases, and consumables used in the welding process is generally a good starting point.

What particles in welding fumes are potentially hazardous?

This page will cover a selection of dangerous gases and metals commonly found in welding fumes:

  • Aluminum
  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Iron oxide
  • Lead
  • Manganese (learn more about manganese in welding fumes)
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Silver
  • Tin
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc
  • Argon
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Helium
  • Hydrogen Fluoride
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitrogen
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Phosgene

Yukon Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act – Welding Fume

Employers in Yukon are required to abide by the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act, a unified body of various regulations.

Regulations specific to welding are included in Part 13 (Trades and Miscellaneous), articles 13.08 to 13.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Here are some crucial points.

“Any fixed workplace shall have effective local exhaust ventilation to minimize worker exposure to harmful air contaminants produced by welding, burning or soldering.”

“Work areas close to welding, cutting, burning or soldering shall be monitored to ensure that the concentration of the air contaminants is kept within the limits, as established by the Occupational Health Regulations.”

“Respiratory protective equipment shall be used only for short duration welding or burning operations if the use of effective local exhaust ventilation is not practicable.”

The Permissible Concentrations for Airborne Contaminant Substances can be found in Table 8 of the Occupational Health Regulations.


Yukon – Acceptable Concentrations for Welding Fumes, Metals, and Gases

Under the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act, the following are the permissible concentrations for airborne contaminant substances (PCACS) in Yukon for welding fumes and some of its components.

Abbreviations used in the subsequent tables:

  • TWA: The Time-Weighted Average concentration for an 8-hour workday
  • STEL: Short-Term Exposure Limit (maximum time-weighted average concentration for 15 minutes)
Welding Fumes5mg/m35mg/m3
Iron Oxide5mg/m310mg/m3
Tin oxide10mg/m320mg/m3
Titanium dioxide10mg/m320mg/m3
Zinc oxide5mg/m310mg/m3
Carbon Dioxide5,000ppm15,000ppm
Carbon Monoxide50ppm400ppm
Hydrogen Fluoride3ppm3ppm
Nitric Oxide25ppm35ppm
Nitrogen Dioxide5ppmNone
* Simple asphyxiant: must be controlled to ensure that no atmosphere is oxygen deficient (less than 18% oxygen) at any time.

ACGIH – Threshold Limit Values for Welding Fume, Metals, and Gases

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) is an important entity that studies hazardous substances and proposes exposure limits. They have substantial influence on most health and safety organizations in North America, and awareness of their recommended Threshold Limit Values (TLV) is crucial.

The Threshold Limit Values are copyrighted by ACGIH and cannot be replicated on other sites. However, we have provided links to the relevant pages on their website below.

The ACGIH has not published a general recommendation regarding welding fumes, so they fall under the Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated category. In such cases, the ACGIH recommendation is a TLV-TWAEV of 3mg/m3 for respirable particles and 10mg/m3 for inhalable particles.

* A concentration limit is not included because available oxygen is the limiting factor.

Potential Health Hazards from Inhaling Welding Fumes

According to agencies like OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the CNESST (Quebec), breathing welding fumes can result in various health implications such as:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Breathing problems that can lead to suffocation or asphyxiation
  • Metal fume fever
  • Lung damage and various types of cancer
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Kidney damage
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Manganism
  • Chest discomfort
  • Asthma
  • Bleedings
  • Dermatitis or eczema
  • Kidney disease
  • Bone and joint disorders
  • Siderosis (inhalation-induced iron oxide in lung tissue)
  • Stannosis (inhalation-induced tin oxide in lung tissue)
  • Anthracosis (carbon dust inhalation poisoning)
  • Berylliosis (beryllium dust inhalation poisoning)
  • Accumulation of fluid in the lungs

These health risks underscore the importance of protecting welders, adhering to standards, and effectively extracting pollutants. Welding fume extractors prove to be the best tool for the job.

For more information about welding fume regulations in other Canadian provinces or territories, kindly follow one of the links below to our relevant article:

Any Questions?

Feel free to contact us. We will help you protect your workers and comply with welding fumes standards anywhere in the US and Canada.