Risk level

ot work

Welders are specialists at joining bits of metal together, everything from car parts to balconies and even bridges. It's important that the joints are durable, and this is a trade where you need to be both skilled and careful. Welding and asthma are not a good combination, as the smoke from the hot metal will irritate sensitive airways.

What are the risks?

Welding involves high temperatures, which lead to metal smoke and gases which are irritants to the airways - you may, for example, have problems with coughing and mucus in your throat. Some welders also develop asthma even though they didn't have problems with either asthma or eczema when they were little.

Prevention and avoidance

Welders wear head-to-toe protective clothing and a visor. This serves to protect against damage to the skin and eyes. Protecting yourself against the smoke is more difficult as it comes in under the visor. Ventilation systems that extract most of the smoke are available, and sometimes air respirator masks are used, but it is difficult to avoid it completely.

If you already have or have previously had asthma, think carefully before deciding to become a welder, as there is a major risk that the work will cause it to come back or get worse.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about astma, allergy and eczema when working as a welder, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.