The Aluminum Association released its 2019 Molten Metal Incident Report, which covers incidents for calendar year 2018. The report is designed to provide information regarding hazardous events that occur at facilities melting aluminum, with the aim of sharing safety information among facilities.
Failure to use proper procedures in melting and casting aluminum can be dangerous. Since the melt is typically handled at 1300-1450°F, it creates a serious fire hazard and can cause severe burns should personnel come in contact with it. Furthermore, mixing water or other contaminants with molten aluminum can cause explosions that range widely in violence and can result in injury or death as well as destruction of equipment and plant facilities. Where there is possibility of splash or other direct exposure, personnel working with molten aluminum must wear eye and face protection as well as protective clothing.
The Molten Metal Incident Report reveals that, for the year 2018, 170 explosion incidents occurring world-wide were reported, including 148 Force 1 incidents, 20 Force 2 incidents, and two Force 3 incidents, resulting in a total of 26 reported injuries and 8 fatalities.
Data for Melting, Casting and Transfer operations shows a downward trend over the last 6-8 years (notable considering the increase in reported incidents over the past 4 years). Melting injuries have also been very low over the past ten years (less than four), with the exception of 2015 when there was one Force 3 incident causing 35 minor injuries. The report notes that this lower injury frequency can be attributed at least partially to:
- the increased use of primary and secondary personal protective equipment (PPE)
- improvements in PPE materials and design
- an increased focus on hands-free casting operations that remove personnel from high risk casting operations
- possibly, increased training and hazard awareness.
Read the full report here.
While not a statistical representation of the industry, due to its reliance on voluntary self-reporting, the Molten Metal Incident Report highlights the predominant hazards that result in explosions during molten aluminum management.
The Molten Metal Incident Reporting Program is worldwide and incorporates roughly 300 aluminum plants in 20 countries. Significant consulting support for its development was provided by Ray Richter of Aluminum Cast Shop Consultants, LLC. The Association is grateful to all the companies who take part in the program and for their continued participation in the future. Companies that would like to participate can find a copy of the reporting form on the Association’s website.