Welders in Maryland workplaces are usually extremely careful as they know that a stray spark could easily start a fire, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges them to also bear in mind that the fumes created by pressure or fusion welding can also be extremely dangerous. Toxic substances found in welding fumes include traces of dangerous metals like beryllium, lead and arsenic, noxious gases such as hydrogen fluoride and asphyxiants like argon.
Installing powerful exhaust systems is the best way that employers can protect their workers from toxic welding fumes, but breathing equipment may be issued when ventilation is not possible or welding is done in confined spaces. OSHA also recommends that employers consult their training materials to ensure that the dangers of welding fumes are addressed. Regularly removing layers of grime that could produce toxic smoke is also recommended by the federal safety agency.