Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Committee Chair

Julie Hart

First Advisor

Terry Spear


This study was triggered from worker complaints about metal fume odors during metal welding in a mechanic garage. Hard-face welding, which includes use of an electrode to join metal pieces together, occurs once per year in this occupational setting and was chosen for this study because of the large amount of smoke that is produced, giving the study a worst-case scenario element. Sampling occurred over a period of one hour, which is the same amount of time hard-face welding is conducted when applicable. Results show that a worker performing hard-face welding was not exposed to metal fume concentrations above any 8-hour OEL-TWA established by OSHA, NIOSH or ACGIH. Readings from area samples suggest that welding smoke tends to escape the fume hood, and thus expose neighboring employees, but below any exposure limit. No action levels were breached, therefore the current welding practices do not require changing, but could use optimization. Recommendations include providing training to the welder to modify work practices by moving his face away from the smoke plume during welding, if and when possible. An engineering control recommendation includes installing a fume hood curtain to help contain smoke that strays outside of the fume hood.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track.