IARC has recently categorized welding fume as a Group 1 carcinogen. Welding is nearly ubiquitous in industrial environments. This PDC describes common welding and thermal cutting processes and the health and safety hazards associated with each of these processes. The terminology used in the welding industry is incorporated throughout the PDC as a means of familiarizing attendees with the vocabulary used in the workplace. Materials, thermal processes, and scenarios associated with the potential for overexposures are described. Emphasis is placed on Manganese and Hexavalent chromium exposures as well as many other health and safety hazards. Suggestions for improving the quality of monitoring data are provided as are suggestions for prioritizing exposure assessments. Ventilation techniques and respiratory protection options are also described.

Value Added

Participants will receive an Excel spreadsheet for tracking relevant data for developing welding SEGs, along with PDF copies of AIHA's publications: "Welding Health and Safety, A Field Guide for the OEHS Professional" and "Field Guidelines for Temporary Ventilation of Confined Spaces with and Emphasis on Hotwork".


  • Introduction & Overview
  • Welding Fume as a Carcinogen
  • Welding / Cutting Processes & Associated Health hazards
  • Metals and Associated Health Hazards
  • Manganese and Hexavalent Chromium
  • Welding Fume as an IARC Group1 Carcinogens
  • SEGs and Exposure Assessments
  • Case Studies
  • Controlling Exposures
  • Process Selection
  • Ventilation
  • PPE
  • Exposure Control Banding Q&A

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe general H&S hazards associated with welding and thermal cutting.
  • Discuss welding fume as a carcinogen.
  • Develop an exposure assessment strategy for welding and thermal cutting.
  • Recognize and recommend effective ventilation for confined space welding and thermal cutting.
  • Identify issues that need to be addressed during welding and thermal cutting in confined spaces.

Transfer of Knowledge

Instructor(s) will evaluate participants’ understanding of the materials presented based on:

  • Group activities


    Mike Harris, PhD, CIH, Hamlin & Harris, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA.

    Mike Harris received an earned research Doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1979 and is President of Hamlin & Harris, Incorporated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2003, his book, "Welding Health and Safety: A Field Guide for the OEHS Professional" is now in its Second Edition. His welding experience includes:

    • Teaching aircraft welding at the US ARMY Transportation School.
    • Welding environmental test equipment for Ling Electronics
    • Welding aircraft drop tanks at Royal Industries
    • Welding pressure vessels for nuclear submarines at Aerojet General

    Mike is a Fellow of the AIHA and the 2014 recipient of the Donald E Cummings award.


    Excellent overview of hazards associated with welding. Learned a lot. Dr. Harris presented the material in a very easy to follow manner.


    Very impressed with Dr. Harris' depth and breadth of knowledge, and his use of real-world welding experience combined with academic research, data and case studies to effectively communicate concepts. Would recommend anyone take this course if they need a better understanding of welding hazards, controls and exposure assessments. I came away with much more knowledge than I had going in, and most importantly, much more confidence in my ability to assess/control welding hazards.


    Dr. Harris is a wealth of information and experience. His examples put you right onto the shop floor, if not in the fume. He's challenging the industry to change. The control banding plug was appreciated. If budgets are low, money spent on controls is more cost-effective.