Foundries are an indispensable industrial operation, but due to the furnaces and molten metal typically have very hot work environment in the summer. Despite major advances in technology, foundries are full of health and safety hazards. Even in the most modern plants with excellent prevention and control programs, these hazards continue to persist. This has made, safeguarding the health and well-being of workers, a continuing challenge for management and the workers. This has made education and training in hazard control an invaluable prerequisite.
High Temperatures Around Metal Moulds
Foundry workers must heat metal in a furnace to very high temperatures and pour that metal into moulds. This process can also include core heating, preheating ladles and heat-treatment which all add to more sources of heat. Employees working near the furnace carry out tasks in close quarters to the molten metal, and can be susceptible to severe heat effects.
Molten metal & Health consequences due to splashes, sparks, and radiant heat during the process of melting and pouring can cause serious burns the body and effect eyes. Additionally, exposure to infrared and ultraviolet rays can damage eyes so you need special UV and infrared glasses.
Safety, Protection, and Control Measures
Control measures include:
Mechanical control measures such as barriers and protective covering, with the mobile shields can protect workers from splashes, sparks, and electromagnetic radiation.
Administrative control measures include improvising and implementing safe working practice and procedures such as:
- Combustible materials and volatile liquids should be kept at a safe distant place from the melting and pouring areas.
- Molten metal should never be exposed to water or other contaminants. All charge materials such as ladles should be completely dry.
- Restrict the unofficial admission by barriers and signage at the furnace and pouring areas.
- Prohibit all synthetic clothing by workers in the vicinity of the furnace and pouring sections.
- Personal protective gear should be well preserved and properly used.
Well-maintained personal protective and heat resistant protective clothing such as headgear, face shields, eye protection, aprons, footwear, fire retardant spats, coats, and gaiters can minimize or eliminate risks linked to handling of molten metal in foundries.
Clothing for foundry workers should have properties for protecting skin from – molten metal, radiating heat, abrasion, and let the usual sweating mechanism work. However, for safety requirements, the fabric should be molten metal proof, waterproof, and flame and chemical resistant while keeping the body cool.
As a research and development company, Red Dirt Workwear focuses to reduce effects of Heat Stress on people who work in foundry like hot environments. They help – Educate the industry about Heat Stress, design reasonably priced and efficient industrial garments, assess and suggest the cooling devices, as well as supply group of cooling products to help people working at hot work sites has led to technological innovations towards making work gear commercially viable.
Red Dirt Workwear people and their suppliers bring together technology, safety, comfort, and cost. A non-toxic, travel-friendly sized cooling solution that is interchangeable, disposable, and non-toxic by using the cooling technology. Inventor and founder of Red Dirt Workwear, Pauline Sanders, herself an ex-mine camp manager understands remote sites, offshore work, and working in the Australian bush.
About the Author
This article is penned by Mohit Jain who works with Timcast Hollowbar. Timcast Hollowbar (Canning Vale, Western Australia) is a group company of VEEM Ltd. – Australia largest propeller manufacturer. Timcast Hollowbar makes the widest range of Alloys in Australia.
TimCast are Australia’s foremost provider of hollow bar products.