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Molten Facts
Barely Hot Hot Very Hot Too Hot

Temp Below 1000F 1000F-1500F 1500F-2250F 2250F or Higher

Tin, Lead, Aluminum Bronze, Gold,
Metal Iron, Steel
Zinc (786F) 1220 F Silver or
These alloys can Electric Induction
be melted on the Aluminum can furnaces are used
stove in a soup be melted in a for large
can. coffee can on A gas or electric commercial
Tools Caution: Most low- the BBQ, use crucible furnace foundries.
melting alloys are propane, wood is typical. Cupola furnaces
TOXIC, vent well or charcoal for use coke (refined
and use a fuel. coal) for smaller
respirator. batches.

Thick shirt and

Safety Gloves and pants. "Going into a
Safety Glasses
needs Glasses Glasses and volcano" suit !
Smelting and refining of iron and steel
• Smelting and refining industries process metal ores and
scrap metal to produce pure metals and metal alloys
(mixtures of different metals)

• Metals and alloys then processed further to manufacture

structural components, machinery, instruments and tools
Chemical hazards of smelting and refining
• Metal oxide fumes from molten metal (particular
metal depends on metals being worked and

• Silica and metal dusts during crushing and

grinding of ores

• Silica dust from furnace maintenance

Chemical hazards of smelting and refining
• Sulphur dioxide produced from sulphide ores
• Carbon monoxide produced by combustion

• Specific hazards include

• Production of nickel carbonyl in nickel refining
• Arsenic in copper and lead refining and smelting
• Mercury and cyanide exposure in gold refining
Other hazards of smelting and refining

• Thermal stress issues common in metal

smelting and refining industry from high levels
of infra-red radiation from furnaces and hot

• Infra-red radiation can also cause eye damage

including cataracts

• High noise levels

• Two main categories foundries
• Ferrous (iron and steel) foundries
• Non-ferrous foundries (e.g. aluminium, brass,

• Main processes
• Pouring molten metal into a heat-resistant mould
• Range of different types of mould but the most common iron
foundry processes use sand moulds
• Cooling of metal casting and removal from mould
• Finishing and cleaning of casting
Ferrous foundry - melting
• Iron or scrap melted in furnace
• Types include cupola, electric arc, electric induction and
crucible furnaces

• Health hazards
• Iron and other metal oxide fume / dust
• Carbon monoxide (particularly from cupola furnaces and
crucible furnaces)
• Impurities in scrap - lead, zinc etc
• Also noise, heat, hot metal
Ferrous foundries - mould preparation

• Mould prepared to form the desired shape of

the casting
• Include cores if required to form hollow internal
areas of the casting

• Iron foundries usually use traditional sand

• Contain crystalline silica - quartz
• Also contain clay and other binders e.g. isocyanates,
phenol-formaldehyde or urea-formaldehyde resins
• Sand used damp - hazard arises when sand
becomes dry
Ferrous foundries – melting and
• Main hazards - heat and fumes
• Metal oxide fumes, carbon monoxide
• Decomposition products from binders e.g. isocyanates,
formaldehyde and amines
• Control is usually by local exhaust ventilation or hood at the
pouring station with direct air supply at the operator position

• Refractory linings of furnaces have to be periodically

• Potential heat stress as furnace cannot be allowed to cool
completely and involves working inside furnace
• Also high dust levels – crystalline silica
Ferrous foundries – fettling (cleaning) of
• Initial cleaning involves removal of mould sand
and easily removed material

• Fettling includes removal of residual sand, rough

edges, surplus metal etc
• Tools include abrasive wheels and grinders

• Higher levels of airborne silica dust are likely

where controls or housekeeping are poor

• Silicosis or mixed dust pneumoconiosis are

common health effects
Non-ferrous foundries
• High temperature alloy foundries
• Very similar to ferrous foundries - processes are
• At higher temperatures quartz in sand moulds more
likely to be converted to cristobalite and sand
residues on castings may be more difficult to remove

• Light alloy foundries

• Mainly aluminium and magnesium
• Fluoride based fluxes
• Metal moulds
Non-ferrous foundries
• Brass and bronze foundries
• Hazards mainly related to metal oxide dusts and fumes during
melting, pouring and finishing
• Copper and zinc metal fume fever – flu-like symptoms
• Lead – particularly during melting and pouring
• Cadmium – acute pneumonitis and chronic kidney damage

• Precision foundries
• Use investment or ‘lost-wax’ process
• Wax patterns prepared and coated with fine refractory powder
before building up rest of mould
• Wax melted out prior to or during casting
• Fumes from decomposition of wax
The Aluminum Foundry
 What are some of the hazards that exist in an
Aluminum Foundry?
 What are some common manufacturing
process/materials in the Aluminum Foundry, and what
hazards can these processes/materials present to the
foundry worker?
 What are some of the Personal Protective Equipment
(PPE) items that workers should wear in an
Aluminum Foundry?
Dust Hazards
• Sand can break down into
very small pieces or DUST
• These particles can become
airborne and get into worker
breathing zones
• Silica sand dust can cause
Small Particles
lung damage when workers of Silica

breathe it in at unsafe levels

over time
Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for 3
Types of Silica
• 3 types of Silica TABLE Z-3 Mineral Dusts

• Crystalline Silica Substance mppcf a mg/m3

• Cristobalite
• Tridymite Crystalline

• The PEL for each Quartz (Respirable) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

10 mg/m3 e
type of silica are 30 mg/m3
Quartz (Total Dust) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .........
shown in table Z-3 %SiO2+2

 Cristobalite: Use ½ the value calculated

from the count or mass formulae for
 Tridymite: Use ½ the value calculated
from the formulae for quartz.
Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for 3
Types of Silica
• Most aluminum foundry sand
systems meet these PELs
• The temperature of the aluminum
when poured is not high enough to
dry out the sand so that dust
becomes airborne
• Dust may be created when sand
must be manually moved or
handled, or when heavy equipment
runs over sand
• Dust allowed to accumulate can be
released by wind, air or when the
structure is shaken
• Most foundries buy INGOTS
with guaranteed chemistry
• Some foundries will buy and
melt SCRAP aluminum
• Scrap will come in various
sizes and may have a range
of metal content
• Aluminum melts at 1220
degrees Fahrenheit
• Aluminum furnaces do not
usually create fume
• As a result, most aluminum
furnaces do not have exhaust
• BURNS are always a danger
when working near hot metal
• PPE must always be worn
when there is a danger of
Personal Protective Equipment
Recommended minimum basic clothing requirements for any
employee working near the melting and pouring areas are:
• 100% cotton socks and undergarments
• 100% cotton or wool outer garments

For employees in a hazardous zone (near a furnace or ladle

containing molten metal) additional specific clothing and PPE is
recommended based on the conditions, such as:
• The temperatures, amount and type of molten metal in the furnace,
ladle and/or mold
• The level of the metal and area of the body that could be impacted by
a splash, runout, spark, flame or hot surface
• How close is the worker to molten metal and hot surfaces
Personal Protective Equipment
• Do Not wear Nomex* • Do wear pants or leggings that cover
because all molten metals the top of the boot to prevent molten
tend to stick to the fabric metal/sparks from entering the boot
• Do Not wear phosphorus • Do wear spats or leggings that cover
treated cotton because the lacings if laced boots are worn
molten Aluminum tends to • Do wear long pants, long sleeve
stick to the fabric shirts are recommended
• Do Not wear polyester, • Do evaluate the need for spats,
nylon and other manmade leggings and chaps for pouring
materials that can melt and operations
readily ignite • Do wear clothing that does not trap
molten metal/sparks
• Do wear any other PPE needed to
protect body parts exposed to heat or
• If workers are exposed to airborne silica above the PEL,
engineering controls or other measures must be taken to
reduce the amount of silica dust to a safe level
• Until these measures are put into place, or safe levels can not
be achieved, RESPIRATORS must be worn by exposed
• Respirators are effective, if they are the RIGHT type of
respirator and WORN and MAINTAINED properly
• If your company requires the use of respirators, a written
program is needed along with training and fit testing
• Medical questionnaire must be completed for everyone in the
program to be sure that the respirator can be safely worn
Other Potential Airborne Hazards from
Mold and Core Making
• If molds or cores are made with
mixing and heating process can release
gases and vapors that may be
• The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will list
chemicals that may be a problem either
as ingredients, as a result of mixing two
ingredients, or as a result of pouring hot
metal into the mold and breaking down
the chemicals in the mold/core
• One substance that may be released is
• Some commonly used chemical binders used to hold sand
together contain ISOCYANATES
• ISOCYANATES are chemical compounds that react with other
chemicals to make a new chemical with new characteristics
• In the foundry, we mix a RESIN and a CATALYST with sands
to make a mold or core
• ISOCYANATES in some core making systems include
Toluene Diisocyantes (TDI) or Methylene Biphenyl Isocyanate
• If these chemicals are present in your foundry, they will be
shown on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
• Workers exposed to these chemicals can develop ASTHMA
• People who never had asthma can develop
it due to workplace exposures to
• People with asthma may find that their
condition gets worse due to workplace
exposures to ISOCYANATES
• Some people can also become sensitized
to the chemical
• Some ISOCYANATES (but not all) are
classified as potential human carcinogens
• It is important to check the Safety Data
Sheet (SDS) to see which Isocyanates may
be present and WHAT actions should be
taken if there is a potential hazard
• One chemical that MAY be in
some products used to bind
sand together is
• If this chemical is present in the
product or is created when used,
the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will
show us!
• A colorless, strong-smelling
• A sensitizing agent
• Classified as a cancer
• Eating or drinking
be fatal
• Long term exposure to low
levels can cause asthma
and skin irritation
• If tests show levels of FORMALDEHYDE are at or above
the PEL, the company must use feasible engineering and
work practice controls to reduce these levels
• The PEL for FORMALDEHYDE is 0.75 parts per million
measured as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA)
• A second PEL in the form of a short-term exposure limit
(STEL) of 2 parts per million which is the maximum
exposure allowed during a 15-minute period
• One other chemical commonly
found in many core making
processes is PHENOL
• PHENOL has an odor that is
unpleasant to many people
• At low levels, PHENOL may be
irritating to the eyes, nose and
• At high concentrations,
PHENOL can cause dermatitis
or chemical burns
• PHENOL is most often
used in the core room in
solid form
• The amount of PHENOL is
usually quite small, but the
Safety Data Sheet will
report if it is present and
how much is used in the
Cleaning and Finishing
• If any silica sand remains on the casting, it could become
airborne and present the same hazards as in sand system
• The finishing/grinding processes may also remove very
small particles of aluminum from the casting
• If the particles are small enough, they can become
airborne and be breathed by workers, causing metal fume
• Metal fume fever is a flu like illness that lasts for a day or
two with headache, fever and chills
• Large amounts of aluminum dust breathed in over time
can damage the lungs by scarring as well
Combustible Dust
• Aluminum dust is a combustible
solid, and under certain conditions
it can be an explosion and fire
• Conditions required for a
combustible dust explosion:
• Fuel source (combustible dust)
• Heat or ignition source
• An oxidizer (oxygen in the air)
• Sufficient quantity and
concentration to create a cloud
• Confinement
Hazardous Materials
• Dusts, solvents, and other materials present a health
hazard in foundries.
• Dust is generated in many foundry processes and
presents a twofold problem:
1) Cleaning to remove deposits
2) Control at the point of origin to prevent further dispersion and
• Vacuum cleaning is the best way to remove dust in foundries.
• Once dust has been removed, prevent further accumulation by using
local exhaust systems (LEV) that remove it at the point of origin.
Hazardous Materials (Cont.)
• Solvents: evaluate each solvent on the basis of its
chemical ingredients
• Proper labeling, substituting less hazardous for more hazardous
chemicals, limiting the quantities in use, and using other methods
of control can help minimize the toxic and flammable hazards
involved in using solvents.
• Other materials: many metal resins, and other substances
present safety and health hazards
Hazardous Materials (Cont.)
• Other hazardous materials that are found in various
stages and locations of hot metal operations include:
• acrolein
• beryllium
• carbon as sea coal
• carbon monoxide (CO)
• chromium
• fluorides
• lead
• magnesium dust or chips
• manganese
• phosphorus
• resins and resin dusts
• silica
• sulfur dioxide
Hazardous Materials (Cont.)
• Iron-oxide: fumes and dusts
are created during melting,
burning, pouring, grinding,
welding, and machining of
ferrous castings
• Use LEV to vent these fumes.
Medical Program
• Baseline physical examinations, including chest x-rays,
audiometric tests, and pulmonary function tests
• Periodic physical examinations to detect incipient disease
and to help reclassify workers as needed
• Adequate first aid facilities and employee training in first
• Observe regulatory requirements if respirators must be
• Industrial hygiene monitoring where needed
Personnel Facilities
• Encourage frequent washing with soap and water, and
install adequate facilities.
• Coreroom workers whose hands and arms may be exposed to
sand and core oil mixtures are candidates for dermatitis.
• Prolonged contact with oil, grease, acids, alkalis, and dirt can
produce dermatitis.
• Reference industrial sanitation standards.
• Sanitary food preparation and service is especially
important in nonferrous foundries.
• Prohibit eating in work areas.
Work Environment in Foundries
• Good housekeeping, ventilation, and light help maintain a
safe and healthy work environment.
• Proper inspections, maintenance, and fire protection
increase workers’ safety in foundries.
• Housekeeping
• Clean machines and equipment after each shift, and keep them
reasonably clean during the shift.
• Place all trash in the proper trash bins.
• Keep the floors and aisles in the work area unobstructed.
• Properly stack and store materials.
• Observe floor loading limits
Work Environment in Foundries (Cont.)
• Noise control
• Controlling excessive levels of noise, more than 85dBA, may
sometimes be difficult.
• Engineering is not always possible because of a lack of technology
or is impractical.
• Develop a hearing conservation program that provides approved
hearing protection for each worker.
• Minimize exposure to identified high-noise-level hazards.
Work Environment in Foundries (Cont.)
• Lighting
• Good lighting is difficult to achieve.
• Where craneways are used, light fixtures must be placed high and
at considerable distances from work areas.
• Nevertheless provide good lighting for each work area.
Work Environment in Foundries (Cont.)
• Inspection and maintenance
• Follow standard inspection and maintenance procedures in
• Carefully select maintenance personnel.
• Train them in safe practices, especially in procedures for locking
out controls and isolating other energy sources.
Work Environment in Foundries (Cont.)
• Fire protection
• Make periodic fire inspections.
• Perform emergency fire fighting drills.
• If a fire brigade is present, it will aid the safety program by keeping
its members, as well as other employees in the foundry, safety
Work Environment in Foundries (Cont.)
• Facility structures
• Entrances and exits—all doors should have an eye-level window
• Stairways: provide handrails, standard guardrails, and toeboards
for stairs having four or more risers.
• Floors and pits: install special types of flooring where explosion
hazards exists; keep clean and dry.
• Galleries: provide galleries with solid, leak-proof floors.
• Gangways and aisles: should be firm enough to withstand daily