A big change within the industry that our motor trade insurance team have been looking into in great detail is the law change regarding mild steel welding.

In 2019 it was identified that there was scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer, and possibly kidney cancer in humans. However, due to Covid and other factors, the implementation of regulations was delayed.

It wasn’t until October 2021 that the Government formally announced the direct link between welding fume and cancer, and subsequently the change in expectations for mild steel welding practices, which has a direct impact on the motor trade industry. The following month, on 8th November 2021, the HSE issued instructions on welding fume and how to protect workers.

So, what was once guidance is now law, and the whole change has gone largely uncovered by the press, meaning that there are likely to be a number of businesses who haven’t put in the necessary processes and precautions to protect themselves and their workforce.

What do motor traders need to do?

According to the hse.gov website, action required is as follows:

  1. Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically through Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)).
  2. Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
  3. Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  4. Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
  5. Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.

It is also advisable to familiarise yourself with the below legal documents:

 If you have missed the development of these rules from guidance to law, don’t worry, you are not alone, however we cannot urge you enough to familiarise yourself with these changes and adapt, where needed, your welding practices and processes to ensure that you are lawfully conducting your motor trade business.

About SEIB

We’ve been arranging motor trade insurance for over 20 years. As a business, we have helped motor traders of all sizes source the insurance they need. If you’d like to request a quote, please call us on 01708 850 011 or email motortrade@seib.co.uk.