Are your workers at risk from molten metal splash? The right flame resistant clothing can make all the difference in preventing serious injury.
Regulations and Industry Standards
OSHA regulation CFR 1910.132 “Personal Protective Equipment” outlines employers’ responsibilities to identify hazards, assess risks and incorporate engineering and administrative controls to reduce the likelihood of exposures.
When addressing a hazard like molten metal splash, OSHA intends for the employer to take a comprehensive approach to identify all hazards in that work environment. Comprehensive hazard identification and risk assessment may show that introduction of flame resistant clothing or additional personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements may create a new risk of heat stress to workers. This new risk may require redesign of how work is done to include additional breaks, job rotation or supplemental cooling measures. Be sure to think holistically when doing hazard identification and risk assessment.
ASTM E2349, titled “Standard Practice for Safety in Metal Casting Operations: Sand Preparation, Molding and Core Making; Melting and Pouring; and Cleaning and Finishing,” addresses safety requirements for applying the design, construction and operation of machinery and equipment used in metal casting operations. The aim of this specification is to minimize the possibility of injury to operation and maintenance personnel while working on, or in the vicinity of, the specified equipment.
ASTM F1002, titled “Standard Performance Specification for Protective Clothing and Materials for Use by Workers Exposed to Specific Molten Substances and Related Thermal Hazards,” is a standard that establishes design, performance and labeling criteria for protective clothing (both primary and secondary) that would be used by employees involved in operations with molten substances.
The American Foundry Society (AFS), through a cooperative alliance with OSHA, has made available a comprehensive resource to assist employers in managing risks of molten metal splashes. The AFS Guide for Selection and Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Special Clothing for Foundry Operations is available as a free download. The guide provides tools and resources on the following topics:
- Hazard identification and risk assessment
- Selecting thermal protective clothing and PPE to provide full-body, hand and face protection for workers handling molten materials
- Basic PPE for all personnel in the vicinity of molten metals
- PPE for hearing protection
- PPE for respiratory protection
- PPE for eye protection
A risk assessment for molten metal splash involves asking and answering questions, including but not limited to:
- Is it necessary for workers to be close to molten metals?
- Are floors maintained so that they are level to minimize splashing when transporting molten metals?
- Are passageways where molten metals are handled kept clear of obstructions?
- What precautions must be taken if maintenance workers must be near molten metals?
- Are operations designed to prevent water droplets from contacting molten metals in vessels or ladles?
- Does the PPE clothing design prevent entrapment of molten metal splashes?
- What training is required to educate workers on proper use of PPE?