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A Review on Effects of Hazards in Foundries to Workers and Environment

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The working environment of foundries is hazardous and characterized by multiple simultaneous chemical, physical and mechanical hazards exposure, which would lead to injuries of foundry workers. Health risks from working in the foundry industry include exposure to molten metal fume (foundry fume), heat and spray mists. In addition to these hazards; some foundry workers work with dusts produced by casting sand, fettlings and kiln linings, which contain silica and, when dry, produce silica dust known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS). This paper provides an overview of foundry industry and hazards, health effects and safety measures. It presents the information currently available from different published research works and involves the group of people that can be affected by foundry hazards including foundry workers and nearby workers. It further indicates how the foundry industry contributes to environmental pollution. Through this review, it has been revealed from different studies that hazards in foundries are many and very dangerous both to foundry workers' health and to the environment which eventually affect the wider population.
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
A Review on Effects of Hazards in Foundries to Workers and
Christopher T. Mgonja (PhD)
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The working environment of foundries is hazardous and
characterized by multiple simultaneous chemical, physical and
mechanical hazards exposure, which would lead to injuries of
foundry workers. Health risks from working in the foundry
industry include exposure to molten metal fume (foundry fume),
heat and spray mists. In addition to these hazards; some foundry
workers work with dusts produced by casting sand, fettlings and
kiln linings, which contain silica and, when dry, produce silica
dust known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS). This paper
provides an overview of foundry industry and hazards, health
effects and safety measures. It presents the information currently
available from different published research works and involves
the group of people that can be affected by foundry hazards
including foundry workers and nearby workers. It further
indicates how the foundry industry contributes to environmental
pollution. Through this review, it has been revealed from
different studies that hazards in foundries are many and very
dangerous both to foundry workers’ health and to the
environment which eventually affect the wider population.
Keywords: Foundry, Health hazards, Workers exposure, Metal
fumes, Pollution, Solid waste, waste water, Noise.
1. Introduction
Foundries are integral part of the history of mankind.
Foundries have been known for thousands of years [1].
Founding is the simplest of all metallurgical processes and
one of the oldest of all industries. Two main procedures
are carried out in a foundry: sand moulding and metal
casting. The casting process consists basically of pouring
liquid metal into a mould containing a socket in the
geometry desired for the final part. The processes can be
classified by the type of mould and model and by the force
or pressure pair used to fill the mould with the liquid metal
[2, 3].
This industry is diverse in terms of materials and processes,
resulting in occupational exposures to a wide range of
hazard substances or workplace activities that could cause
diseases, injury, ill health or death [4]. Hazard is anything
with the potential to cause harm [5]. It is a danger that
includes the whole factors and accompanying occurrences
which make harm to the human organism, property or
environment. Very dangerous occur to be the disease risks
that result from bad working conditions which do not meet
the requirements of hygiene and environment [6].
Although many changes have occurred in foundry
technology and materials, the basic processes and the
associated hazards have remained much the same in many
foundries. Some of the most common causes of injury and
illness in these industries are: (i) exposure to silica; (ii)
exposure to mineral wools and fibres; (iii) contact with hot
metal; (iv) fire and explosion (v) extreme temperatures; (vi)
non-ionizing and ionizing radiation; (vii) noise and
vibration; (viii) inhalable agents; (ix) skin contact with
chemicals [2].
In foundries, metals are extracted and produced from ores
by various metallurgical processes and processes for
moulding, melting and castings etc. are accompanied by
evolution of heat, noise, dust fines, fly-ash, oxides of
Nitrogen, Sulphur and metals. Particulate matters are
generated in large quantities when preparing mould core
sands and moulds melting metals, pouring metal, knocking
out poured moulds and loading and unloading raw
materials. Here metals are given a specific shape by metal
castings for various engineering purposes [7]. Gaseous
matters like gases, vapours, fumes and smoke are produced
during melting and pouring operations. The major
pollutants are emitted from various work areas in Foundry
i.e. Pattern shop, Sand preparation, moulding and core
making, mould drying and ladle heating, cupola, electric
arc furnace, pouring and mould cooling, knockout, fettling,
heat treatment etc. [7].
Many people are exposed to common air pollutants in their
occupations e.g. smoke, dust, suspended particulate
matters (SPM), respirable suspended particulate matters
(RSPM), carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, oxides of
nitrogen (NOx), hydrocarbons, and heavy metals like Pb,
Cd, Cr, As, Ni, Zn etc. Their prolonged exposure causes
various health hazards. Heavy metals cause acute and
chronic poisoning. The term “heavy metals” refers to any
metallic element that has a relatively high density and is
toxic or poisonous even at low concentration [8]. Some
disastrous episodes have focused attention upon air
pollution as a health hazard [7].
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
Climate changes have a negative influence on water and
food production but, on the other hand, they are necessary
for human existence. Sustainable development is the basic
approach to the environment in modern times. Energy
consumption and environmental issues with climate
changes are global problems, and industry influencing it is
the foundry industry [4, 9]. The foundry industry can
negatively impact the environment through its use of
thermal processes and mineral additives. Managing its
environmental footprint is therefore related mainly to acid
gases and the recycling of mineral waste [4]. There are
relatively permanent earth atmosphere components: O2, N2,
CO2, H2O and other gases. However, emissions of
pollutants of anthropogenic origin may drastically change
proportions at the local and global level [4, 9]. The climate
changes influence the food production, water quality, and
pollution and it is necessary to develop an adequate
strategy for protection [9].
2. Foundry Industry
Foundries melt ferrous and non-ferrous metals and alloys
and reshape them into products at or near their finished
shape through the pouring and solidification of the molten
metal or alloy into a mould. The foundry industry is a
differentiated and diverse industry. It consists of a wide
range of installations, from small to very large; each with a
combination of technologies and unit operations selected
to suit the input, size of series and types of product
produced in the specific installation. The organisation
within the sector is based on the type of metal input, with
the main distinction being made between ferrous and non-
ferrous foundries. The casting of metal is an ancient
activity, dating back to more than 3000 BC [10].
Steel industry plays an important role in the
industrialization and development of a country, as it has
the input within all manufacturing sectors. However, one
of the most important problems encountered in steel
foundries throughout the world is the management of the
dusts produced during melting [11]. Ferrous metals
foundries require metal of controlled composition and
temperature, supplied at a rate sufficient to match the
varying demands of the moulding line. The metallic charge
to be melted consists usually of foundry returns, iron
scraps, steel scraps and pig iron with alloying additions
such as ferrosilicon [12].
The castings of metals and alloys of copper, zinc, tin,
aluminium, lead etc. come under the group of non-ferrous
castings. Some of the prominent alloy castings are Brass,
Bronze, Aluminium Bronze, Gun Metal etc. These castings
are used for various purposes like bearing, bushes,
automobile parts, textile parts, corrosion resistance parts,
marine parts, impellers, clamps and connectors, over-head
conductors etc. [13]. Non-ferrous castings are fast
consuming items and the area of application for these items
are vast. Due to certain inherent advantages of mechanical
and chemical properties, the use of non-ferrous castings is
increasing day by day. The consumption of these items is
by Automobile Industries, machine manufacturing
industries, textile industries, electrical industries and so on
[13]. Fig. 1 presents a general foundry process fluxogram
Fig. 1 The foundry process
3. Foundry Hazards, Effects and Control
Major hazards in the foundry industry are: Working in
heat; hazardous chemicals (incorporating hazardous
substances and dangerous goods); airborne contaminants;
manual tasks; noise; vibration; molten metal; plant and
machinery and electricity [3, 14].
3.1 Heat Exposure
High temperatures and direct infrared (IR) radiation are
common hazards in foundries [15]. Where the body is
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
unable to lose heat fast enough through the evaporative
cooling process to maintain a steady core body
temperature, it begins to experience physiological heat
strain with different illnesses depending on the degree of
heat stress [14, 16].
Potential health effects for persons under increasing
levels of heat stress include: discomfort; heat fainting;
heat stroke; prickly heat; irritability, dehydration; reduced
concentration or attention; heat rash; reduced tolerance to
chemicals and noise exposure; heat cramps; heat
exhaustion; Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
are the most serious forms of heat illnesses. Heat stroke is
a life threatening condition and may result in permanent
damage to the heart, kidneys and brain. The effects of heat
stress are most likely to increase during the hot season [14,
16]. Exposure of the skin to strong IR may lead to local
thermal effects and even serious burns, especially if the
exposure covers the whole body [17]. Eliminating
situations that could lead to heat related illnesses is the
best form of control strategy. This can be done by:
eliminating unnecessary sources of radiant heat;
eliminating sources of water vapour in the workplace (i.e.
leaks from steam valves, evaporation of water from wet
floors, etc.) [14, 16]. Where exposure to heat cannot be
prevented or reduced by any other form of control, all
exposed persons must be provided with PPE. PPE may be
used in addition to other control measures. The PPE are:
eye wear, such as ultra-violet glasses and radiant energy
reflective face shields; non-flammable and heat reflective
clothing and equipment; water cooled bodysuits/vests and
other equipment; protective gloves and footwear-
Metatarsal safety shoe with Heat resistant soles [14, 15, 18,
3.2 Hazardous Chemicals
Hazardous chemicals (which incorporate hazardous
substances, dangerous goods and combustible liquids) are
widely used in the foundry industry. The Regulation also
requires manufacturers or importers of a hazardous
chemical to prepare a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each
hazardous chemical dealt with and for suppliers to provide
a current SDS to any person that is likely to use or be
affected by the hazardous chemical. Hazardous chemicals
common to the foundry industry include: amines; benzene;
hexachloroethane; ammonia; epoxy resins; formaldehyde;
furfuryl alcohol; isocyanates; mould release paints;
protective coatings; phenol; crystalline silica etc. [3, 14, 20]
Health Effects of Hazardous Chemicals: Hazardous
chemicals can enter the body through inhalation, skin
contact or by accidental ingestion. Different hazardous
chemicals can create different hazards including fires or
explosions as well as short and long term effects on
specific organs of the body. Prolonged exposure to
hazardous chemicals may result in the following health
effects: headaches; nausea; fatigue; irritant or allergic
dermatitis; asthma; bronchitis; chemical burns; irritation of
the nose, eyes and respiratory tract; adverse effects on the
central nervous system and other bodily systems, including
the lungs, kidneys and liver [3, 14, 21]. Work activities
that are not essential should be eliminated wherever
practical. For example: use a physical process to clean an
object (e.g. ultra-sound) instead of using a chemical
process; use clips, clamps or bolt instead of adhesives;
purchase supplies of a material in a ready-cut and sized
form rather than carrying out a dust producing cutting
process on site, the area should be well ventilated [14, 21].
3.3 Airborne Contaminants
This is a contaminant in the form of a fume, mist, gas,
vapour or dust, and includes microorganisms. Significant
concentrations of airborne contaminants (e.g. gases,
vapours, fumes and dusts) may be encountered in all facets
of foundry operations. Metal fumes are formed by the
evaporation, condensation, and oxidation of metals in air.
These contaminants may be encountered in many areas
including pattern making, core making, mould making,
furnace, fettling and sand plant sections. Hence, in
foundries furnace tenders, melters, casters, ladlemen,
pourers, and crane operators are exposed to the smoke and
fumes during melting [14, 22]. In foundries, airborne
contaminants may be released by, or generated from: the
handling of scrap - receiving, unloading, storage and
conveying; scrap preparation using heat and solvent
degreasers - carbon monoxide; the melting process -
carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides,
chloride and fluoride compounds; the treatment and
inoculation of molten metal before pouring; core and
mould making processes during sand reclamation, sand
preparation and sand mixing; mould and core forming
processes including core baking and mould drying from
additives, binders and catalysts; cooling of casts causing
decomposition of organic binders; casting knockout and
shake-out; and fettling [3, 14, 23, 24,].
Health Effects of Airborne contaminants: Other gases
may indicate their presence by various irritating effects
such as respiratory irritation, coughing, asthma, acidic taste
and eye irritation. The inhalation of wood dusts causes a
slowing of dust clearance and alteration to the structure of
the mucous membrane lining of the nasal cavity. This may
be accompanied by the risk of cancer of the nasal cavity
and sinuses. Some wood dusts also act as sensitisers that
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
may manifest itself as a skin rash, inflammation or as an
asthmatic condition. The inhalation of heavy metal dusts
may produce diverse health effects depending on the
specific metal dust involved. For example: iron dust may
accumulate in the lungs and cause siderosis; aluminium
dust irritates the respiratory system and may result in
chronic non-specific lung disease; beryllium dust irritates
the lungs and may result in tracheobronchitis, pneumonitis
and beryllosis, and may also be a possible carcinogen; lead
dust results in systemic poison effects; manganese dust
irritates the lungs and may have a chronic effect on the
nervous system; nickel dust irritates the respiratory tract
and some nickel exposures may result in lung or nasal
cancer [14, 23, 15].
Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust presents one of the
greatest risks to the health of foundry workers. Fine silica
dust is produced in foundries by the rubbing, abrading or
mechanical action on quartz and which is primarily
composed of crystalline silica. The major foundry
operations which produce RCS dust are mould and core
making, shakeout, cleaning of castings, furnace and ladle
repair, sand reclamation and sand preparation. The
principal health effect associated with silica dust is
silicosis, which is stiffening and scarring of the lungs.
Silicosis is a chronic disease, and usually takes a number
of years for the symptoms to appear. It results in increasing
shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain. The effects
are irreversible, and lead to degeneration in the person’s
health, invariably resulting in the premature death of the
worker. Silica is also now classed by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer as an occupational
carcinogen, where excessive exposures can lead to
irreversible lung cancer [14, 23, 25, 26].
There are a number of control options that can be used
alone, or in combination, to prevent or minimise exposure
to the risk. The risks from airborne contaminants may be
controlled by substituting a hazardous process or material
for a safer one. For example: using wet (with caution for
recycled sands) or vacuum methods or brushes to remove
loose dust or sand in the mould making process rather than
compressed air to minimise dust creation and using
chromite sand instead of silica sand. Engineering controls
may involve the use of plant or processes which: minimise
the generation of a contaminant; suppress or contain a
contaminant; limit the area of contamination [14, 20].
Administrative controls largely involve the development
and training of workers in safe work practices and
procedures that should be used in combination with other
control measures for airborne contaminants. For example:
use of continuous monitoring devices to monitor the levels
of carbon monoxide in the work area; systematic
monitoring to ensure airborne contaminants do not exceed
the exposure standard; training in safe work practices [14]
and use and maintenance of personal protective equipment.
Personal protective equipment that can be used in the
control of airborne contaminants includes: face and eye
protection; respiratory protection appropriate to the
contaminant; respirators with organic vapour filters for
organic vapours [14, 18].
3.4 Manual Tasks
This is a task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull,
carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person.
Manual working is a major source of hazards and problems
for industrial workers worldwide. Tasks which are
performed manually constitute a considerable proportion
of work done in industries around the globe, especially in
developing areas. Manual carrying is defined as the
unaided moving of objects, often combined with twisted
and awkward postures, contributing to musculo-skeletal
disorders (MSDs) [27, 28, 29, 30]. These tasks are part of
nearly all work done by workers. They include any activity
where workers grasp, manipulate, carry, move (lift, lower,
push, pull), hold or restrain a load. Workers in most areas
within a foundry would perform manual tasks. The areas
that involve frequent performance of manual tasks include
pattern and core making, moulding, fettling shops, stores
and dispatch, inspection and surface coating area [14].
Health Effects of Manual Tasks: Over a period of time,
damage to the low back, upper back or shoulder can
gradually build up through: frequent lifting with the back
bent or twisted, or pushing/pulling loads; working in a
fixed position with the back bent, continuous sitting or
standing, or driving vehicles for long periods; repetitive
work with the hand or arm, and having to grip tools or
loads tightly; working with the neck, shoulders and arms in
a fixed position (e.g. using tools and handling heavy loads).
Manual handling risks may be removed by redesigning
equipment or work practices; reduce the amount of force
required to carry out the tasks by utilising conveyor system,
hoists, cranes or forklift trucks, trolley systems and
position tasks at comfortable working height.
Administrative controls involve task specific training;
work organisation; preventive maintenance programme [14]
and personal protective equipment (PPE). To prevent a
decrease in work efficiency or an increase in injury
potential, consider the following: Clothing which restricts
the ability to move freely should not be worn; when gloves
have to be worn provide different sizes so the right size
can be selected and cover only the area of the hand
necessary to protect the worker; provide knee protectors
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
for work involving kneeling to reduce stress on the knee
[14, 18].
3.5 Noise
Hazardous noise is unwanted sound that may damage a
person’s hearing. The amount of damage caused by noise
depends on the total amount of energy received over time.
This means as noise becomes louder, it causes damage in
less time. In the foundry industry, hazardous noise levels
are produced in many operations. The noise created by
foundry machinery is complex due to the wide variety of
noise sources and whether it is constant or intermittent.
These noise sources include: machinery used in pattern
making; moulding machinery; core-making machinery;
furnaces; shake-out and knockout of castings; machinery
used in tumbling, grinding and cleaning of castings;
fettling and dressing of castings [14, 15, 31, 32].
Health Effects of Noise include: temporary threshold shift
which occurs immediately after exposure to high noise
levels, condition may last for minutes to hours; noise
induced hearing loss that occurs from long term exposure
to high noise levels, irreversible; tinnitus which is ringing
in the ears that sometimes accompanies noise induced
hearing loss; acoustic trauma resulting from explosions or
extremely loud impulsive noise which may destroy the cilia
hair cells and ear structure. In addition high noise levels
may cause difficulties in verbal communication and in
hearing warning signals or emergency commands. The
following control measures are listed in order of the most
effective way of managing risks from noise: elimination by:
replacing the machine or its operation with a quieter
alternative with equal or better efficiency; replacing noisy
machinery with newer equipment designed to operate at
lower noise levels; correcting the specific noise source by
design changes (e.g. replacing metal components with
plastic). The engineering noise control measures for
managing noise levels are treatment of: the source; the
noise transmission path and treatment at the receiver.
Administrative control measures include: Sign posting
noisy areas; providing quiet rest areas for food and rest
breaks; limiting the time workers spend in noisy areas by
moving them to quiet work areas before their daily noise
exposure levels are exceeded etc. [14, 31, 33]. Workers
should be supplied with personal hearing protectors as ear
plugs; ear muffs and ear caps [14, 18, 25, 20].
3.6 Vibration
Exposure to noise in industry is often accompanied by
exposure to vibration which is classified as: whole body
vibration (1 to 80 Hz), or hand-arm or segmental vibration
(8 Hz to 1 kHz). Foundry workers may be subject to
whole-body vibration during shake out processes, sand-
slinging and from forklift truck, conveyor, overhead crane,
pneumatic ramming operations and jolt-squeeze machines.
Hand-arm vibrations occur when using hand-held power
grinders, chippers and other pneumatic tools [14, 33].
Health effects of vibration: Vibration disease may
develop after several years of exposure and result from
either whole body vibration or segmental (hand arm)
vibration. The main effects of whole-body vibration
include: blood pressure and heart problems; nervous
disorders; stomach problems; joint and spine damage,
influence on speech, shortness of breath, chest pain. The
factors that influence the effect of vibration on the hand
and wrist include: vibration frequency; level of insulation;
duration of exposure etc. The symptoms include: blanching
and numbness in the fingers (white finger disease);
decreased sensitivity to touch, temperature and pain; loss
of muscular control and discomfort and/or pain in the
joints, such as the wrists, elbows and shoulders. [14, 34]
The control measures of vibrations are: tools with
vibration dampers should be used. They should weigh as
little as possible to reduce muscular effort and have
handgrips that do not involve twisting the hand away from
a normal position while using the tool [14, 35]; Machinery
must be designed and constructed in such a way that risks
resulting from vibrations produced by the machinery are
reduced to the lowest level [34]. Administrative controls
involve the development of safe work practices and
procedures like labelling equipment to warn workers of
potential hazards; avoiding prolonged use of vibrating
equipment etc. [14, 35]. Where exposure to vibration
cannot be prevented or reduced by any other form of
control, PPE should be provided like: protective gloves
and provision of vibration absorbing materials [14, 18].
3.7 Molten Metal
Molten metal is a major hazard in foundry melting and
pouring areas. Workers, who perform tasks with or near
molten metal, may come into contact with metal splashes
and be exposed to electromagnetic radiation. Extreme
caution must be taken to prevent metal and metal slag from
coming into contact with water or moisture, as this may
result in an explosive reaction or ejection of molten metal
with catastrophic consequences. Electromagnetic radiation
is emitted from molten metal in the furnaces and pouring
areas. Foundry workers are mainly exposed to infrared and
ultraviolet (UV) radiation [14].
Health effects of molten metal: Serious burns may result
from splashes of molten metal and radiant heat at any time
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
in the melting and pouring areas. Sparks from molten metal
may also damage the eyes. Exposure to infrared and UV
radiation may result in eye damage including cataracts. To
control molten metal exposure, barriers and other
suitable shields, including mobile shields should be used or
installed to protect workers against molten metal splashes
and electromagnetic radiation; restricting visitors and
workers from wearing synthetic clothing, including
undergarments when entering the furnace and pouring
areas; keeping melting and pouring areas free of
combustible materials and volatile liquids using: heat
resistant protective clothing as footwear, headgear, face
shields, fire retardant spats, aprons, coats and gaiters; eye
protection with side shields; special UV and infra-red
glasses [14].
3.8 Plant and Machinery
Special care should be taken with plant and machinery
used in foundry environments. For example, the elevated
temperature in a foundry creates greater stress on crane
components and may dramatically reduce a crane’s
working life. Continuous vibration of some equipment
results in increased mechanical stress on nuts, bolts, chains
and cables, which may eventually lead to equipment failure.
This in turn may result in major explosions, fires, spills
and burns. Atmospheric particulate matter also increases
wear through contamination of lubricants and ingress to
bearings [14].
Health effects of plant and machinery: Improper
maintenance, repair, guarding and use of plant and
machinery in foundries may result in significant increases
in the risk of injury to operators and nearby workers. The
injuries are: cuts and lacerations; amputations; foreign
bodies in eyes; crush injuries; fractures; burns and manual
handling injuries. To avoid plant and machinery injuries:
Redesign can be carried out which involves changing the
design of the workplace, equipment or work process. It
involves thinking about ways the work could be done
differently to make the plant safer such as modifying
equipment, combining tasks, changing procedures,
changing the sequence of tasks. Administrative measures
involve: ensuring that purchasing specifications for new
equipment incorporate all required safety features, for
example, safety devices and guards and “fail safe” design;
carrying out routine and preventive maintenance programs
at regular intervals; PPE should be used as: eye protection;
hearing protection; safety helmets, and skin protection -
gloves, barrier creams [14, 18, 36].
3.9 Electricity
Electrical risks are risks of death, electric shock or other
injury caused directly or indirectly by electricity.
Electricity can cause death or serious injury. Foundry
workers who may be exposed to the risk of injury from
electricity include those who work with or around
electrical equipment in areas such as the pattern shop,
fettling shop, and the furnace section. The common
electrical hazards and causes of injury can be broken into
three broad categories: Electric shock which can cause
injury or death [14, 37]; Table 1 shows the effects of
current on the human body. Arcing, explosion or fire that
cause burns and Toxic gases causing illness or death.
There are a number of control measures that can be used
alone, or in combination, to reduce the level of risk of
injury from electricity:
Table 1: Effects of current on the human body [38]
Turn off the power: it is not allowed to work on electrical
equipment where there may be a risk of exposed live parts;
removing covers on equipment to access mechanical parts
may also expose live electrical parts. Employers have a
duty to ensure their business is conducted in a way that is
electrically safe, including that all electrical equipment is
safe. Safety switches and regular maintenance of electrical
equipment are good ways of controlling electrical safety
risk [14, 37, 38].
4. Environmental Issues
Today pollution has become big challenge around the
globe [39]. The major terms of pollution are air pollution,
water pollution, soil contamination, plastic pollution. Air
pollution comes from both natural and man-made sources.
However, globally human made pollutants from production,
combustion, construction, mining, agriculture and welfare
are increasingly significant in the air pollution equation.
Adverse air quality can kill many organisms including
humans. Pollution prevention and waste minimization are
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
most desirable than pollution control. The pollution control
devices used commonly are dust collection systems,
scrubbers, and sewage treatment, industrial wastewater
treatment, vapour recovery systems and phytoremediation
[40]. The environmental issues associated with foundries
primarily include air emissions, solid waste, wastewater
and noise [40].
Dust and particulate matters are generated in each of the
process steps with varying levels of mineral oxides, metals
(mainly manganese and lead), and metal oxides. Dust
emissions arise from thermal (e.g. melting furnaces) and
chemical / physical processes (e.g. moulding and core
production), and mechanical actions (e.g. handling of raw
materials, mainly sand, and shaking out and finishing
processes) [41, 42]. Metal emissions should be controlled
during the melting and casting processes. Metal emissions
may be emitted through volitization and condensation of
metals during molten metal pouring into moulds.
Particulates in ferrous foundries may contain heavy metals,
such as zinc (mainly if galvanized steel scrap is used),
cadmium, lead (e.g. from painted scrap), nickel, and
chromium (these last two in alloy steel casting production)
depending on the steel grade being produced and scrap
used. Particulates associated with nonferrous metal
production may contain copper, aluminum, lead, tin, and
zinc. The presence of metal in particulate emissions can be
especially significant during alloying activities and during
the introduction of additives. For example, the addition of
magnesium to molten metal to produce ductile iron may
result in a reaction releasing magnesium oxides and
metallic fumes. Dust, fumes and particulate emission can
be controlled by using high-efficiency dust abatement
techniques [40, 41].
Solid waste streams include sand waste, slag from
desulfurization and from melting, dust collected within
emissions control systems, refractory waste, and scrubber
liquors and sludges. General techniques to manage the
waste generated by foundries include the selection, design
and construction of storage areas for metals, dust waste
from filters, refractory waste, slag, and sand waste, with
due consideration of site geological and hydrogeological
conditions to prevent potential contamination from
potential heavy metal leaching [41]. Disposal by landfill of
spent sands is becoming an increasing problem as
legislation is getting tighter and economic as disposal cost
by current practices increases rapidly [43]. According to a
foundry industry survey, approximately 9.4 million tons of
non-hazardous spent foundry sand (SFS) is generated
annually in the United States. Of this, 28% is beneficially
used in construction fill, as a component of concrete and
asphalt, in road construction, and/or in soil mixes. As of
2002, 18 states had implemented programs to encourage
and regulate the beneficial use of SFSs [44, 45] as an
alternative friendly solid waste disposal. Zanetti and Fiore
[46] report that in Europe, because of the different rules
and economic factors that exist in different countries, a
solution that can be valid for the reuse of foundry wastes in
one country might not be acceptable in another country.
However, a knowledge of the possible solutions could lead
to choosing modifications that might be acceptable. Silica
sands for foundry products in the different European
countries are commercialised at different prices: in Italy
the price is about 0.04 /kg while in Belgium and
Netherlands the same product is sold at about 0.01 /kg.
These differences and the landfilling costs justify the
different solutions adopted in European countries for green
moulding sands (recycling or reuse): recycling in Italy, re-
use as capping for landfills and concrete production in
Sweden, re-use for road construction in Belgium and so on.
The most significant use of water in foundries is in the
cooling systems of electric furnaces (induction or arc),
cupola furnaces, and in wet dedusting systems. In most
foundries, water management involves an internal
recirculation of water resulting in a minimal effluent
volume. Use of wet dedusting techniques may increase
water use and consequent disposal management. In core
making, where scrubbers are used, the scrubbing solutions
from cold-box and hot-box core-making contain
biodegradable amines and phenols. In high-pressure die-
casting, a wastewater stream is formed, which needs
treatment to remove organic (e.g. phenol, oil) compounds
before discharge. Wastewater containing metals and
suspended solids may be generated if the mould is cooled
with water. Wastewater with suspended and dissolved
solids and low pH may also be generated if soluble salt
cores are used. Wastewater may be generated by certain
finishing operations such as quenching and deburring, and
may contain high levels of oil and suspended solids.
Prevention techniques for effluent streams from foundries
include: installation of closed loops for cooling water to
reduce water consumption and discharge; recycle tumbling
water by sedimentation or centrifuging followed by
filtering; store scrap and other materials (e.g. coal and coke)
under cover and / or in bunded area to limit contamination
of storm water and facilitate drainage collection; process
water treatment [41]. Industrial operators must ensure that
waste generated at the premises is not discharged into any
waters or onto land where it is reasonably likely to enter
any waters (e.g. by seepage, runoff or infiltration) [47].
The foundry process generates noise from various sources,
including scrap handling, furnace charging and electric arc
furnace melting, etc. The recommended noise management
IJISET - International Journal of Innovative Science, Engineering & Technology, Vol. 4 Issue 6, June 2017
ISSN (Online) 2348 7968 | Impact Factor (2016) 5.264
techniques include: enclosing the process buildings and /
or insulate them; enclosing fans, insulate ventilation pipes
and use dampers; implement management controls,
including limitation of scrap handling and transport during
night time [14, 41].
5. Conclusion
A review on effects of hazards in foundries to workers and
environment has been conducted where the general
overview on foundry industry and the associated hazards
was carried out. Major hazards in the foundry industry, the
effects and control measures were presented. In the study,
various hazards were identified and elaborated which are
heat exposure, hazardous chemicals, airborne
contaminants; manual tasks; noise; vibration; molten
metal; plant and machinery and electricity. Finally the
effects of hazardous materials to environment and their
control were looked at. It has been revealed that hazards in
foundries are many and very dangerous both to foundry
workers’ health and to the environment which eventually
spread and affect the wider population.
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... Foundries increase environmental pollution by improper disposal of potentially toxic elements and emission of dust and fumes (Dutouquet et al. 2014;Maj et al. 2017;Mgonja 2017;Žibret et al. 2018), which could affect air, soil, and water systems (Mgonja 2017;Rybicka 1996;Žibret et al. 2018). Workers exposed to indoor conditions are primarily affected, requiring special attention (Žibret et al. 2018). ...
... Foundries increase environmental pollution by improper disposal of potentially toxic elements and emission of dust and fumes (Dutouquet et al. 2014;Maj et al. 2017;Mgonja 2017;Žibret et al. 2018), which could affect air, soil, and water systems (Mgonja 2017;Rybicka 1996;Žibret et al. 2018). Workers exposed to indoor conditions are primarily affected, requiring special attention (Žibret et al. 2018). ...
... Workers exposed to indoor conditions are primarily affected, requiring special attention (Žibret et al. 2018). Moreover, the hazards in foundries can even impact a wider population (Mgonja 2017). The diversity of materials and production processes in this industry contributes to occupational exposure to a wide variety of hazardous substances (Campo et al. 2020;Mgonja 2017;Peixe et al. 2014;Ribeiro and Pedreira Filho 2006). ...
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... In the process of identifying and evaluating the risk of occupational accidents and the risk of occupational diseases in conventional metal casting rooms are: SOP design for workers who carry out the lifting of raw materials from trucks, filling raw materials into the kupola kitchen and the operation process of the kupola kitchen is labor those who are most at risk of occurrence of workplace accidents in the workplace, besides being exposed to chemicals which can interfere with the health of the workforce. Mgonja (2017) found that the foundry and hazard industries, health effects and occupational safety measures in Tanzania and involving groups of affected workers. The results of his research also show that the casting industry contributes to environmental pollution and hazard in the casting industry is very diverse and dangerous for both the health of workers and the environment [4]. ...
... Mgonja (2017) found that the foundry and hazard industries, health effects and occupational safety measures in Tanzania and involving groups of affected workers. The results of his research also show that the casting industry contributes to environmental pollution and hazard in the casting industry is very diverse and dangerous for both the health of workers and the environment [4]. Kusumawardhani et al. (2017) examined the problems faced by the casting industry sector that cause hazards that lead to risks that affect health and work accidents [5]. ...
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Foundry workers are exposed to health risks arising from several factors, especially weight handling, adopted postures, and taken routes. This paper aims to evaluate the postures and cargo handling in foundry areas of industries at the south region of Brazil. Data was collected from a population of 35 workers that volunteered to take part in the research. The techniques used include an organizational questionnaire, interviewing, the Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire, and the REBA and NIOSH methods. It was found that 74.3% of the sample reported symptoms of discomfort and pain in different parts of the body. The lumbar region appeared as the most affected part, as well as wrists, hands and fingers. The REBA method results indicated that 78.9% of analyzed postures are between medium and very high risk levels. Likewise, 100% of shipments surveyed carried risks of injury in the spine and musculoskeletal ligament system.
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The vibration of 61 hand tools used by fettlers was measured during normal work in five Finnish foundries according to European Vibration Directive. According to this Directive, the daily exposure action value shall be 2.5 m/s2, and the daily exposure limit value shall be 5 m/s2, standardised to an eight-hour reference period. The measured vibration exceeded 2.5 m/s2 almost in all cases. Vibration of angle grinders (n=16) was 2-15 m/s2 and 60 % of the results exceeded vibration value 5 m/s 2. Vibration of die grinders (n=22) was 3-20 m/s2 and 80 % of the results exceeded 5 m/s2. Vibration of rammers (n=17) was in average 19 m/s2, and vibration of working piece using bench grinder (n=6) was 4-6 m/s2. The use of anti-vibration gloves can reduce vibration exposure about 20 %, so other measures to control vibration exposure are needed. New working methods which minimize the use of rammers and other high level vibration hand tools should be developed.
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Integrating environment development, as the objective of the research in this paper, is to define a model to implement and monitor the key indicators of energy use efficiency as an instrument of an effective environmental and energy management in the metal sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). The used environmental data contribute to a more efficient use of energy as well as to a reduction of emissions and effects on the environment.
Three different treatment processes for the reclamation of bentonite bonded moulding sands, made up of silica sand, coal dust, and clay, are considered in this work. The studied processes are the following: two kinds of wet mechanical regeneration, performed by the Safond and Sasil plants situated in Northern Italy, and a dry mechanical regeneration, performed by Gemco Engineering in the Netherlands. The performances of each treatment process were evaluated, considering the inflows and outflows. Each sample was physically and chemically characterized by means of particle-size analysis and the determination of thinness index (AFS), acid request, coal dust, oolitic, and some metals contents. The results of the inflow and outflow characterization were compared for each process to evaluate the efficiency of the considered regeneration plant. From an economic point of view, dry mechanical regeneration has proved to be the best solution but wet regeneration allows a better quality product to be obtained.
Waste molding and core sands from the foundry industry are successfully being used around the world in geotechnical and soil-related applications. Although waste foundry sands (WFSs) are generally not hazardous in nature, relevant data is currently not available in Argentina. This study aimed to quantify metals in waste molding and core sands from foundries using a variety of metal-binder combinations. Metal concentrations in WFSs were compared to those in virgin silica sands (VSSs), surface soils and soil guidance levels. A total analysis for Ag, Al, Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Te, Tl, V, and Zn was conducted on 96 WFSs and 14 VSSs collected from 17 small and medium-sized foundries. The majority of WFSs analyzed, regardless of metal cast and binder type, contained metal concentrations similar to those found in VSSs and native soils. In several cases where alkyd urethane binder was used, Co and Pb concentrations were elevated in the waste sands. Elevated Cr, Mo, Ni, and Tl concentrations associated with VSSs should not be an issue since these metals are bound within the silica sand matrix. Because of the naturally low metal concentrations found in most WFSs examined in this study, they should not be considered hazardous waste, thus making them available for encapsulated and unencapsulated beneficial use applications.
In foundry industry, the millions tones of spent sands weresuccessfully used as landfill materials for many years. Butthis practise is becoming a problem as the disposal costsincrease rapidly and legislation gets tighter. However, thereis not much experimental data to describe their chemicalcharacteristics, especially for the leaching behaviour andtoxic compounds of the different kinds of spent sands. Thisarticle aims to present the analysis of organic compounds andleaching characteristics of the spent foundry sands. Based onthe evaluation of the chemistry of spent sands, the contentsof the selected 32 polyaronmatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and otherorganic compounds in 11 different spent foundry sands wereanalysed. The concentrations of As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, Hg, Se,Ag, Cu and Zn in 11 different spent foundry sands were alsomeasured with regard to leaching characteristics. ThepH-dependent leaching characteristics of chromium were furtherinvestigated. It was found that all spent foundry sandscontain PAHs in which naphthalene is about 30%. The PAHs ingreen sands are much higher than those in chemical binderspent sands, even though phenolic/ester sands have higher PAHsthan furan/acid and silicate sands. The leaching metals arevery low in all spent foundry sands. The leached Cr increaseswith increasing pH of the eluted solution, which can be usedin practise for shortening the leaching time of the spentfoundry sands.