Safety topics in the molten metal industries

Molten metal/water explosions

What you need to know

Water contamination of any molten metals can give rise to explosions. One of the most common causes of such contamination is water ingress into a furnace from wet scrap.

What you need to do

Ensure that water, or other contamination which can cause an explosion, cannot enter the furnace.

In particular:

  • If possible store scrap in a dry, covered area where it is not exposed to rain
  • Where scrap cannot be stored in a covered area it should be dried and visually checked before it is placed into the furnace
  • Where there are drums amongst the scrap they should be punched with holes to allow liquid to drain from them
  • All scrap should be visually checked for water contamination before it is placed in the furnace.
  • Employees should be given appropriate information, instruction and training on the dangers from working with molten metal, the dangers from liquid contamination entering the furnace, and the need to follow safe working practices including correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Suitable molten metal PPE must be provided where necessary
  • Supervision should be carried out to ensure that workers are following the safe working practices.

Employers should consider whether water contamination is possible in other areas of the foundry and in other processes they carry out.

Lifting/moving objects

What you need to know

Various types of lifting equipment are used in the molten metal industries to lift and move a variety of loads.  One of the most common pieces of lifting equipment is the overhead crane.  The use of overhead cranes can put people at risk of serious injury and so it is important to make sure that all lifting operations are carried out in a safe manner.

What you need to do

Where you undertake lifting operations involving overhead cranes or other lifting equipment you must:

  • plan them properly
  • use people who are sufficiently competent
  • supervise them appropriately
  • ensure that they are carried out in a safe manner

Slips and trips

What you need to know

Slips and trips are the most common of workplace hazards and make up over a third of all major injuries. Approximately 10,000 workers suffer serious injury because of a slip or trip each year.  Slips and trips accounted for 16% of accidents in the molten metal industries in 2010-2011.

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Updated 2021-01-25