Primary and Secondary PPE
In steel works, it is important to make the distinction between Primary Protective clothing and Secondary Protective clothing.
The primary PPE are designed to protect the workers against specific hazards whereas the secondary PPE are more polyvalent. They are usually equipped temporarily in addition to the secondary PPE and removed once the hazardous task is completed.
Aluminized clothing belongs to the Primary PPE and is designed to protect the worker from 2 types of hazards :
• Burn injuries
• Heat Stress injuries
Risks from foundry work
The temperature of molten iron varies between 1450°C (2642°F) to 1550°C (2822 °F ) depending on the stage of the process. Other metals like aluminium can have a lower smelting temperature (800°C/1475°F) but are nonetheless as dangerous. No matter what type of metal is being dealt with, an accidental contact with the skin will cause permanent burn injuries, potentially leading to death.
When moisture is introduced into the hot metal, water instantaneously boils, expends, and creates a steam explosion that could splash onto the worker. A similar phenomenon can occur when certain chemical additives are added. Even small traces of humidity (contained on metal scraps, graphite tools or crucibles) can provoke unwanted hot metal projections.
Therefore it is essential that the work station layout and operational process are designed such as to allow the worker to work at a safe distance from the molten metal. Fixed apparatus (such as heat screens) can also be installed when possible to provide extra protection to the worker.
Even with those precautions, it is highly recommended for the workers to properly equip with aluminized clothing when they are performing hazardous tasks such as :
- Charging metal scraps into the furnace.
- Tapping the furnace
- Skimming the dross
- Moving or transferring the molten metal
In addition, hot metal also emits intense radiant heat that can affect the worker even from a distance. The continuous exposure to high level of radiant heat can lead to heat stress injuries (heat exhaustion or heat stroke), sometimes without the worker even realizing it. Aluminized fabrics reflect more than 90% of the radiant heat, providing the worker more comfort.
A proper Primary PPE set for metal works should include an aluminized overall, aluminized gloves, aluminized hood with ultraviolet and infrared eye protective faceshield and feet protection (gaiters) and be compliant with the ISO 11612:2015 European standards.
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