What is a molten metal splash hazard?
Do you or your employees work around white, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, titanium and associated alloys? Are they frequently in close proximity to red, ferrous metals such as steel, iron and associated alloys? Molten metal burns are a frequent industrial injury among workers in foundries and other areas where solid metals like these are heated to a molten state.
To obtain the workable liquid (molten) state these metals must achieve to be workable, they are heated to between 520 and 3,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The smallest drop of this molten metal splashed onto a worker will adhere to exposed skin or a non-flame resistant garment and can instantly ignite regular clothing, leading to severe burns …or even death.
Government reports note that the majority of severe and fatal burn injuries are due to the individual’s clothing igniting and continuing to burn, not by the exposure itself! The causes of a molten metal splash incident can range from human error to equipment failure. And even relatively small burns can mean long hospital stays that are demoralizing and costly to the worker and you as their employer.
Who is at risk from a molten metal splash hazard?
Many companies such as aluminum and steel manufacturers, foundries and other industrial metal-working operations face the challenge of protecting their employees from the hazards associated with a molten metal splash. This responsibility carries with it serious legal consequences for failure to provide and use personal protective equipment in proper repair and flame resistant clothing designed specifically for the type of molten metal hazard that is present.
Foundry workers, fabricators and welders are the most commonly injured in a molten metal splash hazard. However, any worker or employee who passes near a point at which metal is heated to a molten state may suffer an injury from a molten metal splash.
How do you protect your workers from the hazard of molten metal splash?