Biggest dangers faced by metal processing plant workers

Metal processing plant workers face a multitude of dangers on a daily basis due to the nature of their job. Unguarded machinery, sharp metal, toxic chemicals and dust are just some of the hazards metalworkers face every day.

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Here at Gas Alarm Systems, we understand that most of these risks can can reduced by having the right preventative measures in place, and that’s why we specialise in providing you with fixed gas detectors, and portable gas detectors that can be programmed to suit a range of different work environments, including metal processing plants.

Our gas detectors will help to protect your staff from the risk of exposure to toxic gases, but there are a variety of other dangers that you need to keep in mind if you want to ensure the safety of your work force.

Handling injuries

Working in a metal processing plant requires a degree of skill, vigilance, and – let’s be honest – a little fearlessness too. The risks your workers face are considerable, and come in many different forms. One of the most common causes of injuries in these kind of environments is improper handling of raw materials. Often, labourers will move materials by hand to different sections of the plant. At some point, every machine shop worker, assembler, fabricator, and welder will have to handle material.

When doing so, it’s really easy for workers to sustain hand injuries like scrapes and cuts if they’re not provided with the correct PPE. Metals come in various states depending on the stage of processing that they’re at, so it’s not uncommon for materials to be oily, or extremely sharp. To counter this, we’d always advise providing PPE like industrial gloves to reduce the risk of cuts and scrapes.

Burns and scalds

Exposure to hot metal is all too common when working in a metal processing plant. Whether it’s equipment, sheet metal, or metalwork pieces, they can all get very hot very quickly, so it’s important that your workers are well educated on the dangers they face from hot metals. Burns and scalds are obviously similar in a couple of key ways – for starters, they’re both a form of heat damage to skin. However they differ slightly, as a burn is caused by dry heat (a metal sheet or open fire for example) and a scald is caused by something wet, such as boiling water or steam. Burns may also be caused by chemicals and electricity, so it’s important that measures are put in place to both prevent the risk of burns, as well as treat them should they occur.

Toxic gas exposure

Exposure to toxic gases can have catastrophic long term effects on the health of your workers. Staff who operate within heavily industrialised environments like metal processing plants are some of the most at-risk members of the UK workforce when it comes to toxic gas exposure. A few of the most common toxic gases that metal processing workers are at risk of exposure to include carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and toxic VOC vapours from burning gasoline, diesel, heating oil, kerosene, and jet fuel.

Here at Gas Alarms Systems, our fixed gas detection systems are installed in a permanent location, which helps to ensure the ongoing safety of your working environment. The device helps to monitor the release of toxic gases, oxygen deficiency or enrichment, as well as the presence of flammable gases and vapours. If triggered, it will alert any nearby staff members through a loud alarm system, allowing them to quickly initiate any shutdown procedures you already have in place.

Feel free to browse our range of fixed gas detection systems and portable gas detection monitors, or if you have any questions or need any advice, by all means call us on 01423 862240, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.