Welcome to the first in a new series of blog articles aimed at exploring the different types of workwear and the role it play in protecting workers in the many different industries Wearwell supports.
In this edition, we explore the Molten Metal Industry and discover what workwear best suits this potentially hostile environment
The molten metal industry involves casting metal into shapes by melting the metal into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mould, and removing the mould material after the metal has solidified.
The most common metals processed in the molten metal industry are aluminium and cast iron.
Working with molten metal is both taxing and dangerous work, nevertheless, the task of casting metal can be made much safer if the correct workwear is employed.
Here are some key considerations that we think you need to know when selecting the right workwear for Foundrymen:
An obvious start to any list of foundry hazards, nevertheless a hazard that should not be underestimated.
High temperatures are an everyday hazard for a foundryman, with furnaces reaching between 500 and 1,600+ degrees, it is vital that the correct workwear regulates the wearer’s temperature, preventing heat exhaustion, heat cramps and dehydration.
Flames require three elements; heat, fuel and oxygen all of which are in abundance in a molten metal factory. Remove any one of these factors and the flames are effectively extinguished. Failing to deal with flames can lead to serious injury and even death. That’s is why it is important that workers are protected from head to toe ensuring complete bodily coverage when working with molten metal.
The hazard of molten metal splashes is present in the foundry and also during welding, cutting and grinding. Molten metal splashes can stick to the surface of a protective garment and conduct heat through the fabric which can lead to serious burn injuries and/or ignition of the garment. A workers protective clothing should repel or “shed” the heat source totally.
Wearwells range of high-quality garments offers a high level of wearer comfort, an important factor which can help to reduce stress levels when operating in a hazardous environment and are carefully designed to meet exacting UK and EU safety standards.
There are few options when it comes to choosing the best fabric to protect against molten metal. The two most common and most effective are Wool and Portal – an inherent flame-retardant fabric made using a blend of cotton and modified acrylic.
Wool is naturally fire-resistant, keeps you cool or warm depending upon the environment, easily absorbs and releases moisture, and is strong and durable.
Protal is a very lightweight fabric with a soft, natural touch and appearance. Available in all colours, including Hi-visibility. When a flame comes into contact with a Protal fabric, tiny amounts of inert, non-burning gases push the oxygen away from the surface to stop the burning process. As soon as the flaming stops and the source is removed, gas production stops and a charred barrier remains – no melting, no dripping and no material sticking to the skin. The charring action and protected integrity of the fabric gives the wearer valuable time to react appropriately.
Below is a short list of some of our most popular molten metal workwear. Not sure which fabric is best for your environment? why not contact us to discuss more.