PR-SF1021-1 - 2021 Safety First, October

A Guide to Manage Heat Stress - Related Injuries and Illness in the Iron and Steel Industry

R. Bardhan, M. Eaker, W. Gaskins, J. Crissup

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Heat stress poses a substantial risk to iron- and steelworkers worldwide. Previous studies have shown that iron and steel industry workers are likely to suffer from a heat-related illness (HRI), and casting and melting workers face a particularly high risk of HRIs. Heat stress can cause serious heat-related illness including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash and heat syncope. Heat stress can also cause fatigue and distress in employees, which may result in distractions, causing injuries at work. The indoor workplace has high levels of environmental heat from ovens and molten metal. Wearing heavy protective clothing to prevent skin burns from molten metal can exacerbate the heat stress effects. Working extended hours near a furnace or oven can also be a risk factor for heat stress. Environmental heat measurements underestimate the risk of HRI in these situations.

Keywords: safety