Molten metals (Foundries)
Where are the hazards?
Health risks from working in the foundries industry include exposure to molten metal fume (foundry fume) and spray mists. In addition to these hazards; some foundry workers work with dusts produced by casting sand, fettlings and kiln linings, which contain silica and, when dry, produce silica dust known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
What are the risks?
Exposures to ferrous foundry fume can cause lung cancer; fume from pattern assembly can cause asthma; and spray mists can cause lung diseases, including asthma. Inhaling RCS can lead to silicosis. Silicosis is a disease only seen in workers from industries where there is a significant exposure to silica dust, such as in quarries, foundries, the potteries etc.
How to control
It is important to keep dust and fumes exposure to a minimum. Ensure control measures are in good working order. This means mechanical (eg extraction, respirators), administrative (eg supervision, health surveillance), and operator (following instructions). Show that control is being sustained – keep good records and carry out health monitoring regularly.
- Confined spaces: A brief guide to working safely
- Control of exposure to silica dust: A guide for employees
- Health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)