The Foundry Work Environment and Heat Stress
The human body is an amazing machine, capable of achieving great things; however, it needs to be at a perfect balance at all times. A change in temperature, for example, means the body needs to adapt to survive.
The furnaces and molten metal in a foundry create an extremely hot working environment. The heating of moulds and cores, the preheating of ladles and the heat treatment of metal castings create additional sources of heat. Workers engaged in furnace or ladle slagging and those working closest to molten metal, experience the most severe exposures to heat.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stress
Heat stress usually starts as heavy sweating and/or heat rashes, but if not attended to it may lead to heat cramps, exhaustion, and in extreme cases, individuals might develop heatstroke. This causes a rise in core body temperature, which may cause confusion, muscle spasms and even death. The following are signs that should not be ignored in a high heat-stress risk workplace, like a foundry.
- Heavy sweating
- Tiredness and Weakness
- Dizziness or Fainting
- Slurred speech or blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Painful muscle cramps
Workers who regularly work in a hot environment can become acclimatised to a certain level of heat. Acclimatisation reduces heat discomfort and increases the effectiveness of sweating. Acclimatisation can provide partial protection from extreme heat, however, adverse health effects to exposed workers may still occur.
Work with Elliotts to select the best Primary Protective Clothing, assisting your employees to be more comfortable, who can work for longer in these extreme temperatures, whilst reducing the chances of heat stress. You can also find more information on how to manage workplace heat stress.
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