1 May 2013
Major Foundry health risks encountered by people working in foundries are the exposure to a number of harmful substances.
Harmful substances can include:
The levels of dust including respirable dust and silica are of key concern for foundry workers. Casting sand, fettling and kiln linings contain silica and therefore workers within the foundry industry are particularly susceptible. Workers are at risk from fine airborne particles, entering into the respiratory tract. However, these small particles are often not visible to the naked eye and therefore may not be an obvious exposure risk to workers.
Exposure over a number of years can lead to the development of the condition known as silicosis. This is a form of scar tissue in the gas exchange region of the lungs that leads to difficulties in oxygen uptake into the bloodstream. Furthermore new evidence suggests that long term exposure to silica can increase the risk of the development of lung cancer. Ferrous foundry particulate exposure can lead to respiratory problems including asthma and therefore is of an occupational hygiene concern.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2005, employers must make suitable and sufficient assessment of the health risks created by work which is liable to exposure their employees to substances hazardous to health.
In addition, as silica is linked to cancer, exposure must be reduced to as low levels as is reasonable practicable. In 2006 a new workplace exposure limit of just 0.1mg/m3 (8hr time weighted average (TWA)), which must not be exceeded, was introduced for respirable crystalline silica in response to the increased concern about its health affects.
Envirocare can provide assistance by carrying out independent air quality monitoring within the foundry which can provide crucial data in aiding the preparation of your COSHH Risk Assessments and the elimination of Foundry Health Risks. Our service includes expert technical advice tailored to the needs of the individual foundry. These include:
For more information on how Envirocare can help you reduce your Foundry Health Risks and information on COSHH Air Monitoring then please call us on 01274 738668 or alternatively fill in our Online Enquiry Form