A safety information profile is presented for primary and secondary nonferrous smelting, and ferrous foundry furnace operations (Standard Industrial Classifications 3331, 3341, 3369). Several different types of furnaces and their uses are described. Potential safety and health hazards, particularly burns and vapor inhalation, are reviewed. Hazard controls, particularly precautionary measures, are described, and accident and illness statistics are summarized. The possible consequences of worker exposure to metal fumes are cited, and related studies are mentioned. Industry growth trends and new developments are discussed. Company safety standards and the present development process of OSHA standards are described. A list of names and addresses of industry associations and other interested parties is provided. It is concluded that existing government regulations could be improved, and additional study is needed to devise adequate standards. Recommendations call for increased use of protective clothing, engineering controls, and employee education concerning hazards.
Division of Safety Research, NIOSH, Morgantown, West Virginia