Risk assessment

Workplaces, processes and products are different.  To help you decide what - if any - protective clothing to provide you need to assess the risks from any work with molten metal.

First you should ensure that all the other necessary controls are in place, consider how effective they are in preventing injury from molten metal and then you can decide what further protection is needed.

The following list of controls is not exhaustive but they are the minimum required before protective clothing is considered:

  • the general state and repair of the foundry building is adequate and activities are protected from the influence of weather, particularly the ingress of water
  • floors are maintained so that they are level and even
  • passageways and other areas where molten metals are handled are kept clear of obstructions and tripping hazards
  • the quality of moulds and dies is good enough to prevent unnecessary molten metal ejection or run-out
  • a proper system of work ensures that the charge to a furnace is properly inspected, prepared and dried to prevent a water/metal explosion
  • the moulds, ladles and implements used with molten metal are properly dried and prepared
  • furnaces, ladles, transporter tracks and other key items of equipment are regularly maintained and inspected to prevent their failure
  • work is arranged wherever possible so that operators do not need to be close to a melting or casting process (for example, can scrap be automatically charged into the furnace?)
  • operators are segregated from molten metal by screening wherever possible (for example by providing armoured glass at an induction furnace pulpit or by extending the side screens on pressure die-casting machines)
  • effective precautions are taken if maintenance work has to be carried out close to molten metal
  • operator training is designed to make sure employees understand and follow safe working practices
  • operations are managed and supervised effectively to ensure that established safe operating procedures are followed
  • incidents involving molten metal are investigated and lessons are learned

If, after carrying out your risk assessment you decide that you do need to provide protective clothing to reduce the risk of injuries from molten metal it is important that you select the correct clothing.

Further help and information about assessing risks is provided on the HSE Risk web pages.

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Updated 2023-05-02