7 Most Common Health Risks When Working in a Foundry
A foundry worker’s health is at risk both during and outside of work. The health risks faced by foundry workers are directly and indirectly affected by the nature of their work. Foundries are dangerous settings to work in, so being aware of possible health risks and ways to avoid them will help protect yourself. Here are the seven most common health risks:
1. Molten Metal Explosions
Steam explosions occur when molten metal is in contact with moisture, either by introducing moisture into molten metal or by pouring molten metal onto materials containing moisture.
Chemical explosions can occur by introducing reactive chemical substances to molten metal directly or as a contaminant in charge material, causing gas pressure build-up within the molten metal.
Burns are unsurprisingly a major source of injury generally caused by touching hot surfaces, radiation or accidental splashes of molten metal.
3. Heat Stress
The effects of working in extreme heat conditions range from discomfort or heat rash to heat exhaustion or heat stroke which can be fatal.
A worker can suffer long-term heat stress being unaware of the impacts of working in an extreme environment. Heat stress affects concentration, perception and decision making, which can negatively affect behaviour and judgement.
Other factors besides furnace heat contribute to the body overheating for example:
- Excessive or unsafe clothing
- Unsuitable personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Job factors including strenuous work, sustained work and inadequate recovery time
- Seasonal factors including high air temperature and relative humidity, or low air movement
Check out our blog about managing heat stress HERE.
4. Light Radiation
Intense ultraviolet and infrared radiation from molten metal in furnaces can cause eye disorders and skin burns. This often occurs from ongoing pouring and welding operations.
5. Hazardous Radiation
Foundry workers may be exposed to hazards and risks from a range of hazardous chemicals.
6. Physical Hazards
Physical hazards are properties of chemicals created from chemical reactions. They can present a risk through incorrect handling or use and can often cause injury to people or damage to property. Examples include chemicals that are flammable, corrosive, explosive or have oxidising properties.
One of the biggest potential hazards in foundries is from physical hazards posed by some hazardous chemicals. Fires and explosions at foundries have caused deaths and substantial property damage.
7. Health Hazards
Health hazards are properties of a chemical that can potentially cause adverse health effects. Exposure occurs by inhaling, skin contact or ingesting the chemical.
Inhalation of gases, vapours, fumes and dust will have lasting respiratory effects if proper protective gear is not worn.
Just like other work environments, slips, trips and falls are likely to happen, causing permanent injury, pain, strains or sprains. Machinery and equipment in the foundry can cause physical injuries and health effects too. These are caused by entanglement or crushing, vibration or noise.
Elliotts has a wide range of both primary and secondary layer protective clothing. Each of our products are designed to the highest of standards and there is something suitable for everyone.
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