Plasma Arc Machinery: Reducing the Risks of Vapour Exposure

8th November 2018

Technical Specification


Plasma arc cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by the means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Common materials cut using this method include steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass and copper, amongst other conductive metals.

However, if you are reading this, I am guessing you already have a good idea of what plasma arc machinery is used for and are instead looking for the information needed to ensure that risk of exposure to vapours can be reduced as much as possible at your workplace. If you are looking to learn about plasma arc cutting vapours and safety, this post is for you!

Plasma Arc Machinery



Toxic Vapours and Gasses


Although plasma arc equipment has not been identified as the source of toxic vapours, it is important for machinery users to understand that the cut material may be a source of toxic vapours and gasses escaping into the atmosphere and to take appropriate safety measures accordingly. Some of the metals that can release toxic vapours include stainless steel, carbon steel, zinc and copper, and in addition to this, some materials can be coated with substances that release toxic vapours such as paints and fillers.

Some of the toxic gasses that can be produced by plasma cutting include nitrogen oxides, hexa-valent chromium, hydrogen, varying depending on what material is being cut. When using arc plasma cutting machinery you must therefore take special care, otherwise there may be a risk of physical illness such as heart defects.


Your Responsibility


It is the responsibility of the owner of the equipment to test the air quality in the cutting area and workplace to ensure that it complies with all local and national standards.


Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Toxic Vapours in Your Workplace


To reduce the risk of exposure to vapours here are some top tips:

  • Remove all coatings and solvent from the metal before cutting
  • Use local exhaust ventilation to remove vapours from the air
  • Use a respirator with air supply when cutting any metal containing or suspected of containing toxic elements
  • Ensure that users of machinery are provided with breathing apparatus, that they are qualified and properly trained to use the equipment
  • Never cut containers with potentially toxic materials inside
  • Empty and clean containers properly before cutting
  • Monitor air quality closely
  • Consult a local specialist to carry out a local plan


JPS Machinery Ltd Here to Help

Here at JPS Machinery we are here to help you ensure that you are able to get the most out of your plasma cutting equipment. If you have any questions regarding plasma arc machinery, or any of the other machinery that we offer, do not hesitate to contact our team today, who are always delighted to be of assistance.