World Day for Safety and Health at Work
28 April 2018 is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, or SafeDay for short. As specialists in high temperature insulation, health and safety issues are core drivers for what we do.
Our work means we’re involved across many different sectors, but what they have in common is a basic requirement for high temperature insulation solutions to minimise risk and protect employees.
In some cases, such as working in the foundry and steel sector, intense heat comes with the job, and is an inherent part of working conditions. In others, such as continuous process industries, high temperature insulation is a vital part of a whole set of activities.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work every April, as part of an international campaign promoting safe, healthy and decent work worldwide.
The United Nations reports that every day some 6,300 people die from accidents in the workplace or from work-related diseases. That’s more than 2.3 million deaths a year.
Working in and with Heat
Working in heat, or with heated materials carries risks. These include health risks associated with fire and burns, but also heat related injuries such as heat stress. Through the course of their daily jobs, many people are routinely exposed to heat.
In acute conditions, this exposure can cause heat stress. This comes in the form of heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps or rashes. Furthermore, heat exposure can lead to other injuries if someone’s performance is impaired from heat exposure.
Another one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace, and in the molten metal industries is manual handling. It accounts for nearly a quarter of all injuries, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
A further hazard of working with heat in foundries comes from dust and fumes. Dust can come from kiln relining, when silica dries out. This dust is respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and inhaling it can cause silicosis, which is an irreversible lung disease.
Fumes in foundries are also hazardous to health. Ferrous foundry fumes can cause lung cancer, and other fumes and mists can cause asthma and various lung diseases.
Safety and Electricity
Electricity is an essential source of power, but it can also injure and kill. Electric shocks do not always cause injury, but they can result in fatalities. Electrical currents can also cause severe burns.
One form of intense heat comes from electrical arcing, also known as an arc flash or flashover. This can arise from a short circuit, and the intense, ultraviolet radiation it generates can cause deep-seated burns and damage eyesight.
There is the risk of fire from electrical currents arcing, overheating or leaking.
It is vital, therefore, that all electrical equipment is properly put together and designed for safe use. People using it must correctly install and maintain it, following the right professional standards in its condition and application to minimise the risk of accident or injury.
Working with electricity is another area where effective insulation is critical.
High Temperature Insulation and Other Solutions
High temperature insulation is essential for safe working across a variety of industries and sectors. It is also makes an essential contribution to performance. Elmelin specialises in mica and mica-based insulation products and solutions, and in microporous technology for high temperature insulation.
A key industry benefitting from these solutions is foundry and steel. Our microporous Elmtherm range is used to line ladles, for the safe and efficient heating of metals up to temperatures of 1650°C.
At the same time, Elmtherm also delivers a space-saving insulation solution for tundishes, reducing insulation thicknesses while enabling safe, continuous casting.
For molten aluminium, high temperature insulation optimises movement but minimises heat loss, reducing the requirement for super-heating of the metal which, naturally, means reducing risk.
In continuous process industries, high temperature insulation helps regulate temperatures in pipes and tubes – essential for safety in upstream, downstream and midstream processes for petrochemicals, cement and glass.
Process improvement helps boost productivity but doesn’t cut corners when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.
Similarly, in tooling, our focus is on ensuring both safety and reliability through high-performance mica-based insulation products.
Mica tube is ideal for heat guns, combining thermal resistance with superior heat insulation to ensure safe and consistent performance. Ceramic-based mica encloses the heating element to make sure there is an even, controlled distribution of heat.
Effective insulation is essential for safe working and durable, efficient tooling.
Early Warning for Foundries
As we mentioned earlier, a hazard of working in foundries is dust. Our insulation solutions combat this in two ways. Firstly, our mica laminates lengthen the lifespan of linings, reducing the likelihood of deterioration and resulting dust emissions. Secondly, we also produce a flexible, mica laminate known as Vapourshield.
This acts as an early warning where there is a risk of metal giving off fine dust emissions during the melting process.
Fire Protection from Thermal Insulation
Many workers in different industries are at risk from fire. Therefore, effective fire protection is vital. At one time, this would have revolved around the application of asbestos. Now, however, with well-documented safety concerns surrounding it, there needs to be an alternative material which can provide a safe level of insulation and thermal protection.
We provide combined mica and microporous insulation solutions in a range of settings.
These include heat shields for automotive, aerospace, military and transport applications. We also provide fire door and lift door insulation.
Putting Safety First
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a useful reminder to employers and employees of the importance of safe working for millions of people worldwide.
This is not just about protecting people, but finding new, innovative solutions to enable them to work safely while making processes more efficient.
We believe our innovative high temperature insulation products and solutions are at the forefront of these developments, with an adaptability and performance that makes them ideally suited across industries, sectors and disciplines.
Are you looking for insulation solutions to improve your productivity while looking after your workforce? Please complete our enquiry form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also call us on +44 20 8520 2248, or email email@example.com.