Whether you are casting small items as a hobby at home or you work with large industrial casting equipment, it is important to know how to stay safe at all times. It will come as no surprise that working with or around casting equipment can be very dangerous, which is why casting safety is so important.
When at the workplace, it is the responsibility of both the company and the employees to work together to improve the overall safety. The following casting safety essentials are a great place to start for any facility.
The fumes that are produced from the molten metals and other materials that are used during the casting process can be very dangerous. In some cases, these fumes can cause immediate health problems. More often, however, they can build up over a long period of time to cause lung problems for those working in the area.
Depending on the type of metal being casted, it may be sufficient to simply have a good ventilation system in place to quickly remove the fumes. In other cases, it may be a good idea to use some type of breathing protection as well.
In addition to helping to get rid of potentially dangerous fumes, proper ventilation can help to regulate the temperature in the area where the casting takes place. This is also important for casting safety as the employees can become overheated when working near the extremely hot metals.
Keep Liquids Away
Due to the high temperatures of the molten metals it can be tempting to keep a bottle of water or another beverage nearby to help keep hydrated and cool. While this certainly is important, you don’t want to have any liquid near the extremely hot metals.
This is because if it is spilled into the metal it can cause some very dangerous problems. It can, for example, cause the molten metals to splash up and come in contact with people in the area. This, of course, can be very dangerous. In addition, depending on the amount of liquid that is spilled, it can cause the temperature of the metal to change rapidly, which can have negative consequences.
It is a good idea to use floor marking tape all around the area where casting is done. Keeping all liquids at least 10 feet away from molten metals is essential for casting safety. In many cases, keeping it in another room entirely is even better.
Personal Protection Equipment
When coming in close proximity to these molten metals it doesn’t take much to get an extremely serious burn. Even if the metal doesn’t actually touch your skin, it can cause some serious problems. This is why heat resistant personal protection equipment is essential for proper casting safety. The following are some key elements of this equipment:
Gloves – You must have thick gloves that can shield your hands from the heat. They should also provide protection in the event that any of the molten metal comes in contact with them.
Boots – When metal bubbles up or splatters it most often falls down near your feet. If it lands on normal shoes or boots, it can burn right through them to your feet. Even if it hits the floor, you could accidently step on it while it is still extremely hot. This is why heat resistant boots are essential.
Long Pants & Sleeves – Wearing long thick pants and long sleeves that can help protect you from the heat is important. While it may seem like the long clothes would keep you hot, they can actually help to shield you from the scorching heat used in the casting process.
Face Protection – If you’re working directly with the metal, having a face shield to ensure it doesn’t splatter up onto your face is very important.
Protective Apron – In almost all cases it is best to have a heavy apron that will help protect your body.
In many casting situations you will need to add metals to a vat for one reason or another. When this is the case, it is important not to just ‘toss’ in metals that are room temperature because it can cause hazards like splattering metals and even minor explosions in rare circumstances.
Instead, make sure to preheat the metal so that the transition is much smaller. You can then carefully place the new metal into the vat. In most industrial situations this will be done by a machine, but in the event that it is done manually this is a very important casting safety tip.
Keeping People Away
One last tip isn’t directly related to casting itself, but rather to the area where casting is done. In many facilities there will be other employees who work nearby. It is important to make sure they are well aware of the dangers of casting so that they can stay away.
Whether it is someone who works on a machine across the hall, or a maintenance employee who is there to inspect something, they should stay away from any casting equipment while it is in use. In order to help ensure this happens, many facilities put up safety signs or labels on the doors or hallways near the casting area.
A simple label that says something like, “Keep Out while Casting” is often enough to remind everyone that they are not permitted in the area while the casting is being done. This is a simple way to help keep everyone safe.
The bottom line whenever discussing casting safety is that everyone needs to participate in order to keep everyone safe. If even one person makes a small mistake, it can cause danger to everyone in the area. When the entire team works together and follows all of these casting safety tips, there will be very little risk to the employees or the facility.
With that in mind, make sure everyone who works with or even around casting areas is well trained about these hazards so they can always stay as safe as possible.