The Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association (JEPHAss.

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Vol.80 No.3& 4, 2005

Evaluation of Occupational Hazards in Foundries
Adel M. Zakaria* Kamal H. Noweir* Gamal El-Maghrabi** * ** Occupational Health Department, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University. Occupational Safety and Health Department, Ministry of Labor, Behira.

ABSTRACT
The working environment of foundries is hazardous and characterized by multiple simultaneous chemical, physical and mechanical hazards exposure, which would lead to injuries of foundry workers. The aim of the present work is to evaluate occupational hazards in four foundries, two in Alexandria: El Nasr and Ramsis, and two in Behira: Misr Spinning and Weaving and Misr Rayon companies. Levels of total and respirable dust, free silica % in total dust and lead concentration in total and respirable dust; NO2, SO2 and CO concentrations; noise and heat stress levels have been determined in the present work. Occupational injuries data were analyzed in a three years period from 1998 to 2000. The results of the present work revealed; 1. The levels of total dust and respirable dust exceeded the threshold limit values at knockout and cleaning operations at El Nasr Company. 2. Free silica percentage exceeded permissible levels in all operations except pouring in El Nasr Company. 3. CO levels in Misr Spinning and Weaving Company were higher than threshold levels. 4. Noise levels in knockout and cleaning operations at the four companies were exceeding the threshold limit values. 5. Heat stress levels in melting and pouring operations in El Nasr and in pouring operation in Ramsis Company were higher than the maximum permissible levels. 6. The age group 31-40 years has recorded the highest average incidence rate of injuries of age groups (P<0.01). Correspondence to: Adel M. Zakaria, Occupational Health Department, High Institute of Public Health Alexandria University E-mail: zakaria1959@yahoo.com

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7. Lower extremities and higher extremities have recorded the highest average incidence rate in the four companies (P<0.001-P<0.01 respectively). 8. Transportation and lifting was the main cause of injury in the four companies (P<0.05). 9. Faulty action and striking against was the main mean of injury in the four companies (P<0.01). 10. Ramsis Company has the highest average incidence rate in almost all injuries parameters and indices (frequency rate and severity rate) (P<0.05-P<0.001). The present work is a massive survey, which highlights the occupational hazards in Egyptian foundries.

Key words :

Foundry working environment, chemical hazards, physical hazards, occupational injuries

INTRODUCTION
Foundries are integral part of the history of mankind. Foundries have been known for thousands of years. A foundry is a place where castings are made from molten metal according to an end user specification. Foundry work comprises; making the pattern, making and assembling the mold, melting and refining the metal, pouring the metal into the mold, and finally removing all adherent sand and superfluous metal from the finished casting.(1,2) The potential hazards present in working environment include chemical hazards and physical hazards. Chemical hazards examples are silica and other non metallic dust and fumes, carbon monoxides and other chemical compounds including thermal decomposition products such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.(3-5)

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Physical hazards, which are mainly associated with various foundry processes are noise, vibration and heat.(5,6) The foundry industry includes; pourers, moulders, core workers and cleaning room operators in addition to crane operators, electricians and welders. Foundry workers accidents can result in injuries from (i) manual and mechanical materials handling; (ii) work equipment and machinery; (iii) walking and working surfaces; (iv) foreign particles in the eye; (v) contact with hot material; (vi) falling objects and (vii) fire and explosion.(7) Manual materials handling is the most prevalent causes of injury to foundry workers due to overexertion and poor lifting techniques.(8-10) Traumatic injuries and burns have been received by workers handling castings, hot core and molten metal because of inadequate personal protective equipment and poor work practices.(9) Semiautomatic and automatic machinery presented hazards from moving parts and flying or ejected materials. Improper maintenance, repair, guarding and use of grinders and abrasive wheels may also result in worker injury. Poor house keeping and poorly lighted area result in slips, trips and other types of falls on walking and working surfaces.(7) Higher temperature environment foundry increases the strength on mechanical handling devices. In addition, some of these devices are continuously vibrating, resulting in mechanical stress on nuts, bolts, chains and cables; which eventually may result in equipment failure, may lead to major explosions, fires, spills and burns.(7)

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The objective of the present work is to evaluate extensively the main chemical and physical occupational exposures in the working environment; and to analyze injuries data in four foundry plants in Alexandria and Behira in three years from 1998 to 2000.

MATERIAL AND METHODS
The present study has been conducted in four foundry plants (manual and automatic) where the number of workers is more than 50 workers. In Alexandria governorate; Ramsis and El Nasr foundries, and in Behira governorate; Misr Company of Spinning and Weaving and Misr Company of Synthetic Rayon in Kafr El-Dawar have been chosen to be surveyed. In table (1) a brief description of each of the four foundries are presented. Table (1): Description of the Four Foundries Surveyed.
Parameter Sector No. of workers No. and type of furnaces El Nasr Business 410 3 large electric furnaces Ramsis Private 53 2 small electric furnaces Misr for Spinning Business 210 5 furnaces: 3 electric and 2 crucible (light fuel oil) Automated Misr Rayon Private 51 2 small crucible (light fuel oil)

Mode of operation Casting type Safety performance

Highly automated Iron

Manual Iron

Manual

Iron, aluminum Lead, aluminum and copper and copper 1. Good 1. Bad 1. Fair 1. Fair housekeeping housekeeping housekeeping housekeeping 2. Available 2. Non available 2. Lack of safety 2. Lack of safety PPE PPE measures measures 3. Highly 2. No safety 3. Non available 3. Non available qualified staff PPE PPE safety staff 4. Adequate 4. Lack of safety 4. Non qualified 4. Non qualified safety measures safety staff safety staff measures and rules

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Methods
Sampling locations and durations Air samples have been taken at breathing zone of workers. Area samples were taken as near as possible to work stations. Personal samples (attached to workers bet and collar) were taken as well. Samples were taken at the main steps of casting, moulding, melting, finishing, and cleaning. Air samples were taken for 2-3 hours. Chemical pollutants Total suspended particulate TSP Total suspended particles were determined gravimetrically. Membrane filter attached to a calibrated personal pump (MSA) was used to collect particulates at a rate of 0.8 L/min.(11) Respirable dust Respirable dust samples were taken typically as TSP, except that a 10 mm nylon cyclone is put prior to the filter holder to separate particulate > 10 μm and pass through particulate < 10 μm to be trapped on the filter.(11) Sulphur dioxide Sulphur dioxide is absorbed by aspirating a measured air sample by a calibrated electrical diaphragm pump through a solution of potassium tetrachloromercurate, TCM. This procedure results in the formation of the dichlorosulfitomercurate which is determined colorimetrically at 548 nm.(12)

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Nitrogen dioxide Nitrogen dioxide is absorbed from a measured volume of air sample by a calibrated electrical diaphragm pump through aqueous triethanolamine solution, subsequent analysis is preformed using an azo-dye forming reagent. The color produced by the reagent is measured in a spectrophotometer at 540 nm.(13) Carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide is determined by a self calibrated direct reading instrument; Multilog 2000 Quest Technologies, USA. Free silica Free silica percentage in total dust samples was determined by spectrophotometric method.(14) Lead Lead in total and respirable particulate samples are extracted by a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids. The analysis is subsequently made by atomic absorption spectroscopy using the 217.0 nm lead line.(15) Physical hazards Noise Noise levels have been measured by a calibrated sound level meter at 114 dB(A) nearby the workers locations at knocking out and cleaning operations. The average level was computed.(16) Heat stress Heat stress, wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) has been evaluated by Botsball nearby the workers locations in front of the

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furnaces during melting and pouring operations. The average heat stress has been computed for each operation.(17) Accidents records The raw accidents records have been taken from the four companies files for the period from 1998-2000. The raw accidents records have been organized and recalculated so as to demonstrate incidence rate of injury per 100 full time workers of injuries causes, injuries means, injured parts of body and age groups. Frequency rate (FR) and severity rate (SR) were computed using the forthcoming formulas. The injury in the formula is the injury which disables the injured worker for more than the day or shift during which he was injured.(18) FR =

Number of injuries reported ×10 6 Total worked hours

(Total worked hours = number of workers × working days × 8) SR =
Number of days lost due to injury ×10 3 Total worked hours

The injuries data were analyzed by chi-square test.(19)

RESULTS Chemical pollutants
Total dust

Concentrations at the four major operations of casting in the four surveyed companies are presented in figure (1). It is apparent that the highest levels of total dust at the four operations have been observed in

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El-Nasr Company. In contrary the lowest levels have been recorded in Ramsis Company.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Moulding Melting Pouring Shake-out and cleaning

Total dust concentration (mg/m3)

El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spnning Misr Rayon

Fig (1): Total dust different operations in the four companies (mg/m3)

Respirable dust

Respirable dust data at the four major operations of casting in the four surveyed companies are presented in figure (2). The same trend observed with total dust is repeated with respirable dust, El-Nasr was the highest and Ramsis was the lowest in all operations.
Free silica percentage in total dust

The free silica percentage in total dust at the four operations of casting is presented in figure (3). Ramsis Company recorded the highest free silica percentage in the four operations, followed by El-Nasr Company where as Misr Rayon Company recorded the lowest percentage in the melting and pouring operations.

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4

Respirable dust concentration (mg/m3)

3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Moulding Melting Pouring Shacke out and cleaning El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spnning Misr Rayon

Company process

Fig (2): Respirable dust different operations in the four companies (mg/m3)
3 2.5

Free silica percentage

2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Moulding Melting Pouring Shacke out and cleaning

El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spnning Misr Rayon

Company process

Fig (3): Free silica perecentage in total dust different operations in the four companies

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Airborne lead concentrations

Figure (4) presents the concentration of lead in total and respirable dust in melting and pouring operations in Misr Rayon Company, since it was the only company which was casting lead. It is clear that lead concentrations in total and respirable dust were very close. However, lead concentrations in both total and respirable dust were higher in melting than in pouring operation.
120 100

Lead concentration

80 60 40 20 0 melting pouring

total dust respirable dust

Fig.(4): lead concentrations (µg/m3) in total and respirable dust at melting and pouring operations in Misr Rayon company

Gaseous levels

Figure (5) represents the average NO2 concentration in melting and pouring operations in the four companies. In general, melting operation has recorded higher levels of NO2 than those of pouring operation in the four companies. El-Nasr Company has recorded the highest and lowest levels of NO2 in melting and pouring operations respectively.

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No2 concentration (µg/m3)

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Moulding Pouring El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spnning Misr Rayon

Fig (5): No2 concentrations at (µg/m3) different operations in the four companies

SO2 levels

Figure (6) represents the average SO2 concentration in melting and pouring operations in the four companies. The highest levels were observed in Ramsis Company in the two operations, whereas the lowest levels were recorded in Misr Weaving Company.
CO levels

Figure (7) represents the average CO levels in charging, melting and pouring operation at Misr Weaving Company. The highest average levels have been recorded in pouring operation.

Physical hazards
Noise levels

Figure (8) represents the noise levels at shake out and cleaning operation, which is the noisiest operation in casting. El Nasr Company

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has recorded the highest levels among the four companies, whereas Misr Rayon Company has recorded the lowest levels.
600

So2 concentration (µg/m3)

500 400 300 200 100 0 Moulding Pouring El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spnning Misr Rayon

Fig (6): So2 concentrations at different operations in the four companies

200 180
Co concntration (ppm)

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 charging melting pouring

Fig (7): Co concentrations (ppm) at the different operations of coke fueled furnace in Misr Weaving company

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102 100

Average noise levels (dBA)

98 96 94 92 90 88 86 El Nasr Ramsis Misr spinning Misr Rayon

Fig (8): Average noise levels in shakeout and cleaning operation at the four companies (dBA)

Heat stress levels

Heat stress levels (WBGT) of melting and pouring operations in the four companies are presented in figure (9). Heat stress levels recorded in El-Nasr Company were the highest in the two operations, whereas Misr Rayon has recorded the least levels.

Accident records
Age group

Figure (10) represents the average three years incidence rate of injury (per 100 workers) as related to age groups in the four companies. Ramsis Company has recorded the highest incidence rate in all age groups. The highest incidence rate has been recorded in age group 3140, while the lowest has been recorded in age group 51-60 years.

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35 30

Average Heat Stress

25 20 15 10 5 0 Melting pouring

El-Nasr Ramsis Misr spinning Misr rayon

Fig.(9): Average heat stress levels in melting and pouring at the four companies

60 El-Nasr Average No. of injuries /100 workers 50 Ramsis Misr Spining Misr Rayon 40

30

20

10

0
-3 0 -4 0 -5 0 20 31 41 51 -6 0

Fig.(10) Correlation between age and average No. of injuries/100 workers in the four companies

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Injured body parts

Figure (11) represents the average three years incidence rate of injury (per 100 workers) versus the injured body part in the four companies. In general, Ramsis Company has recorded the highest figures of injured body parts. Lower extremities and higher extremities in order have been recorded the highest incidence rate of injury among body parts, there was no injury of neck in the four companies.
60 Average No. of injuries /100 workers El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spining Misr Rayon

50

40

30

20

10

0
d m iti es k He a Ne c iti es un Tr m O th e rs k

tr e

ex

er

Hi gh

Fig.(11) Correlation between injured part and average No. of injuries/100 workers in the four companies

Cause of injury

Figure (12) illustrate average three years incidence rate of injury (per 100 workers) by the cause of injury in the four companies. Working environment and transportation were major causes of injury in Ramsis Company, in the mean time they recorded the highest figures. Biologic agents was not responsible for any injury in the four companies.

Lo

w

er

ex

tr e

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Average No. of injuries /100 workers

45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spining Misr Rayon

M at er ia l

ic al Ag en t

ift in g

tru m en ts

ie ne s

m en

O bj ec tL

M ac h

in s

us

vi ro n

az ar do

us

W or k

d

az ar do

an

rta tio n

Tr an sp o

Fig.(12) Correlation between causes of injury and average No. of injuries/100 workers in the four companies

Means of injury

Figure (13) represents average three years incidence rate of injury (per 100 workers) as related to means of injury in the four companies. It is obvious that explosion, hazardous materials and electrical current did not lead to any injury in the four companies. Contact with hot objects followed by faulty action and striking against and exhaustion were the major means of injury. Ramsis Company has recorded the highest figures among the four companies in all means of injury.
Injury indices

Figure (14) represents frequency rates and severity rates (× 100) of different companies in the years 1998-2000. Ramsis foundry has recorded the highest frequency and severity rates in the three years of study. The lowest frequency rate was recorded in Misr Rayon Company in the three years.

Eq

ui pm en t

an

d

H

H

B

ilo g

En

O th e

rs

t

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Average No. of injuries /100 workers

30 25 20 15 10 5 0
s ik in Ca g ug ag en ht ts be tw ee n ob je ct s Ex ha us Co tio nt n ac th ot ob je ct El s ec tr ic al cu rr Ha en za t rd ou s m at er ia l

El-Nasr Ramsis Misr Spining Misr Rayon

Fig.(13) Correlation between mean of injury and average No. of injuries/100 workers in the four companies

600

500

400

300

200

100

0
98 99 00 98 99 00 98 99 00 98 99 19 19 20 19 19 20 19 19 20 19 19 20 00

El-Nasr

Fa ul ty

Frequency Severity

ac tio n& st r

Fa llin g

Ramsis

Misr Spining

Fig. (14): Injures parameters at El Nasr, Misr Rayon, Misr spinning & Ramsis company in years 1998-2000

Ex pl os io n

ob je ct

Misr Rayon

O th er s

Fa llin g

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DISCUSSION Chemical hazards
Airborne particulate Total dust

The TLV of total dust in foundries could be taken as 10 mg/m3 referring to nuisance dust (Law No. 4, 1994),(20) however, the existence of free silica and different metal fumes might decrease markedly total dust TLV, which might be computed from the following formula.(1) TLV of total dust (mg/m3) =

30 Average free silica % + 3

The computed TLV of total dust and average total dust concentrations at different operations in the four companies are presented in table (2).
Table (2): Computed TLV's of Total Dust on the Basis of Average Free Silica Percentage and Average Total Dust Concentration at Different Operation in the Four Companies.
Company Process Moulding Melting Pouring Shakeout and cleaning El Nasr Av. Con 3.59 3.58 0.91 8.31 TLV 5.6 6.33 6.6 5.57 Ramsis Av. Con 0.55 0.89 0.57 0.58 TLV 6.17 7.7 7.34 6.98 Misr Weaving Av. Con 1.45 1.02 TLV 5.8 6.77 6.1 6.28 Misr Rayon Av. Con 1.83 0.93 TLV 5.17 5.63 5.88 5.5

The average concentration of total dust at shake-out and cleaning operations in El Nasr Company was much higher than the computed TLV, which might increase the liability of exposed workers to silicosis risk.(21)

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As shown in figure (1), the high-recorded levels of total dust concentration in El Nasr Company might be attributed to the heavy work load and extensive activities in the company, since at the study period there was a contract between the company and Alexandria governorate to produce a big number of decorative light columns. Much lower levels of total dust were recorded in 12 foundries in Japan.(22) The range was 0.14-1.55 mg/m3 compared to 0.55-8.31 mg/m3 in the present study reflecting bad house keeping and lack of control measures, which was observed in the surveyed foundries.
Respirable dust

Respirable dust concentrations were following the same trend observed with total dust concentrations as shown in figure (2). The same reason, which interprets the higher results of total dust in EL Nasr Company is plausible for those of respirable dust. The average concentration of respirable dust in pouring operation is higher than total dust in EL Nasr Company, which is unlogic. However, this observation is interpreted by the non-simultaneous sampling of total and respirable dust for technical reasons.
Free silica percentage

Free silica percentage as shown in figure (3) is somewhat misleading, because total dust concentrations in the different operations are not the same. Hence, expressing free silica in μg/m3 would change markedly the data trend observed in figure (3). El Nasr Company will be the highest in all operations except pouring operation, and Ramsis would rank in the fourth position after it was the first. The concentration of free silica in μg/m3 at EL Nasr Company in moulding, melting and shake-out and cleaning were 84.7, 56.8 and 198.6 μg/m3

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respectively. These values exceed the NIOSH recommended TWA of 50 μg/m3,(5) which emphasized what mentioned earlier of the high risk of silicosis in EL Nasr Company. The levels of free silica in μg/m3 in the other companies are below NIOSH limit. In a similar study,(23) the range of silica was 50-970 μg/m3.
Airborne lead concentration

Misr Rayon Company was the sole company casting lead. The average levels of lead concentration, as shown in figure (4), in total dust in melting and pouring were 0.09 and 0.075 mg/m3 respectively whereas the average level of lead in respirable dust in melting and pouring were 0.103 and 0.08 mg/m3 respectively. Although the levels of total dust are higher than those of respirable dust, the average lead levels in respirable dust are slightly higher than those of total dust in the two operations. This might be interpreted by the minute grain size of lead oxide fumes. The TLV of lead in Law No. 4, 1994 (Egyptian Environmental Law, 1994) is 0.15 μg/m3.(20) The average levels of lead in total and respirable dust in both melting and pouring are below this limit. Meanwhile the levels reported in the present study are lower than those reported in the US
(24)

where lead levels ranged from 60 to 330 μg/m3, which might be

attributed to the intermittent work practice and low workload in Misr Rayon Company.
Gaseous levels NO2 levels

The two main mechanisms of NOx formation might interpret the obtained results of NOx. The thermal NOx mechanism arises from the thermal dissociation and subsequent reaction of nitrogen and oxygen

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molecules in combustion air. The fuel NOx mechanisms arise from the evolution and reaction of fuel-bound nitrogen compound with oxygen.(25) In general, the average concentration of NO2 in the four companies during melting and pouring operations as shown in figure (5) were below the threshold limit value of 6 mg/m3 stated in Law No. 4, 1994.(20) Thermal mechanism of NOx formation is predominant in EL Nasr and Ramsis companies, whereas the fuel NOx mechanism is predominant in Misr Spinning and Misr Rayon companies, since the furnaces in the former two are electric and in the latter two are fossil fueled furnaces.
SO2 levels

Sulphur dioxide may be formed when high sulphur content charge materials are added to furnaces. The presence of sulphur in fuel, especially coke, gives rise to sulphur dioxide emissions. The highest levels of SO2 observed in Ramsis Company, as shown in figure (6), might be attributed to charges of low quality scrapes and combustion technology used in the old low capacity furnace around which the work stations are allocated. Similar to NO2 concentration, SO2 concentrations were far below the threshold limit values of 5 mg/m3 stated in the Law No. 4, 1994.(20) Very high SO2 concentrations of 25-250 ppm have been measured nearby coke fueled furnace in an American foundry.(26)
CO levels

CO emissions are generated from incomplete combustion of carbon additives and dirt and scale on the scrap charge. It may be produced in significant quantities during preheating of the furnace charges melting or pouring, ladle of core curing, or by decomposition of sand binder

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system and carbonaceous substances when contacted by the molten metal.(3) CO levels have been measured in Misr Weaving Company since the cupola furnace is coke fueled, and there is a great likelihood of CO emission. As shown in figure (7) the highest levels were recorded in pouring operation. Fortunately, pouring operations takes few minutes for each batch. However, all the average levels were exceeding the threshold limit values of 50 ppm stated in the Egyptian Environmental Law. It is noteworthy that similar results were recorded in Finland. In a survey of 52 iron, 5 steel and 100 copper alloys foundries, the mean CO concentration around the cupola averaged 240 ppm and 110 ppm in the casting area.(27)
Noise levels

Noise levels were measured during shake-out and cleaning operations, the most noisy operation being in casting. The highest recorded noise levels in El Nasr Company might be attributed to the high workload, extensive activities in the company at the period of the study besides the huge size of produced casting. However, workers were wearing earplugs during practicing shake-out and cleaning. Although the noise levels were lower in the other three companies, they still exceeded the 90 dB(A) limit in the Egyptian Law.(20) Workers were not wearing earplugs in these operations in these departments which might threaten their hearing acuity. It is normal that shake-out and cleaning operations are being associated with noise levels of 90-110 dB(A). Also, noise levels of 100110 dB(A) have been regularly measured during routine fettling in both ferrous and nonferrous foundries.(6,28)

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Heat stress levels

Extreme heat exposure is known to occur during melting and pouring operations. Hence heat stress levels (WBGT) were measured at the two operations. Shown in figure (9), EL Nasr Company has recorded the highest levels in both operations. The WBGT in pouring operation was higher than that in melting operation in El Nasr Company. This might be attributed to the huge amount of molten metal handled during pouring which emits great amount of radiant heat. The high capacity of furnace and bad working practice are possible reasons of high heat exposure in El Nasr and Ramsis companies respectively. The work in the foundries is a heavy work and it is almost continuous. However, if the worker is expected to work 75% of the work shift and the work is considered heavy, the equivalent permissible heat stress in the Law No. 4, 1994 is 26°C.(20) the results of heat levels were higher in El Nasr Company in both operations. A proper solution should be taken including isolation of workers, and decreasing of working time at those areas as possible. Levels of WBGT between 30 to 50 °C have been measured in several foundry surveys. At WBGT levels over 30°C, the risk of incurring heat illness progressively increases, with the level of risk being higher for the heavier physical work.(2,29)
Accident records analysis Age group

Ramsis Company has recorded the highest incidence rate in all groups among the four companies especially in age group 31-40 and 4150 (P<0.01). The total incidence rate in Ramsis Company in all age groups was 108 per 100 workers. Since Ramsis Company is a private sector

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company, the workers were highly turned over, even more than once in the year which might interpret this high incidence rate. In the mean time, this extremely high incidence rate of injury might reflect the bad safety performance in general, which has been observed by the authors, lack of personal protective equipment, besides, non existence of specialized safety measures. The age group 31-40 years has recorded the highest incidence rate of injury in the four companies within the four age groups (P<0.01). on the other hand, age group 51-60 years has recorded the lowest incidence rate of injury within the four age groups in the four companies (P<0.01). This might be attributed to the responsibilities and acquired experience. The majority of the work force was in the age group 31-40 years, they have acquired good experience and hence afford major executive responsibilities requiring physical strength. On the other hand, the age group 51-60 years workers were in the first hand supervisors and were rarely encountered in the practical part of the work. The observed trend of incidence rate of injuries as related to age group has been emphasized by several authors in both in foundry or in other heavy industries.(30-34)
Injured parts

It is obvious that lower extremities and higher extremities represented the most injured body parts. They contributed more than three quarters of total incidence rate of injured body parts. A high significant variation was noticed for lower extremities and higher extremities incidence rate of injury compared to the other body parts (P<0.001 and P<0.01 respectively). It is familiar in engineering industries that lower and higher extremities contributed about two thirds of injured parts.(31-35)

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It is quiet obvious that Ramsis Company has recorded a significant increase of injuries incidence rate for all body parts compared with the other three companies (P<0.001 to P<0.05). This might be attributed to the same aforementioned reasons. Improving safety performance, providing workers with personal protective equipment, especially safety shoes, gloves and hard caps would markedly decrease lower extremities, higher extremities and head injuries respectively.
Cause of injury

Transportation and lifting were the major cause of injuries, since it recorded the highest incidence rate of injury among other injury causes (P<0.05). Transportation and lifting is considered to be one of the main causes of injuries in foundries, since foundry operations require significant movement of both heavy and molten materials.(8,9) Biological agents were not a cause of any injury in the four companies. Biological agents are minor cause of injury in foundries and heavy industries.(32-34) Ramsis Company has recorded significant increase in injuries caused by transportation and lifting and working environment more than other companies (P<0.01). This might be attributed to the manual handling and manual pouring of molten metal in the moulds and to the very bad conditions of working environment in the company.
Means of injury

Faulty action and striking against were the main means of injury among other means (P<0.01), then falling objects (P<0.01). Faulty action and striking against and falling objects were major means of injury in all industries and specially in manufacturing industries.(33,34,36) Ramsis

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Company has recorded the highest incidence rate of injury of all categories. However, there was highly significant increase in injuries due to contact with hot objects and exhaustion (P<0.01). This might be attributed, as mentioned earlier, to bad safety performance in general, besides being a private company, so that the workload is very high and most of the time worker worked more than the eight hours shift, and they are paid by productivity which might lead to overexertion of workers. Overexertion and poor lifting techniques were the more prevalent causes of injury to foundry workers. However, they were minor causes in manufacturing industries in general which emphasize the impact of the rough nature of foundry industry.(9,33)
Injuries indices

The discussion of injuries incidence rate as related to causes, means, distribution between age groups and injured body parts was pointing to Ramsis Company as an odd member of the four companies throughout the study setting. Consequently, it was distinguished by the highest injuries incidence rate in most of the discussed parameters as previously discussed in details. Furthermore, this was illustrated in figure (14) which represents frequency rates and severity rates of the four companies from 1998 to 2000. Ramsis Company has recorded the highest frequency and severity rates compared to the other three companies in the three years of study (P<0.001 in 1998 and 1999 and P<0.01 in 2000 for frequency rate, P<0.001 in 1998 and 2000 and P<0.01 in 1999 for severity rates). On the other hand, Misr Rayon Company has the lowest frequency and severity rates among the four companies in the three years of study. It is obvious from figure (14) that in 2000 the lowest frequency and

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severity rates have been observed in all the companies except in Misr Rayon Company. This might be attributed partly to the informal instructions and advices to the safety staff of the companies throughout the study period.

CONCLUSION
Foundry workers may be exposed to a variety of numerous health hazards and accidents, owing to inherent hazardous conditions in foundries including chemical, physical and mechanical agents. The four surveyed foundries for chemical and physical hazards and accidents records in the present work were different mainly in applied technology and capacity and workload. The results of the present study revealed that the majority of the assessed occupational chemical hazards were within threshold limits values with some exceptions; whereas physical hazards were exceeding threshold limit values. The analysis of accident records in three years from 1998 to 2000 have emphasized the difference between private and business sectors companies. The administration attitude targeting toward productivity and profitability in private sector, represented by Ramsis Company, besides, lack of safety plan or measures, safety staff and personal protective equipment, all have adversely affected injuries incidence rates, frequency and severity rates in the company. The synergistic interactions between the diverse acting

occupational hazards, which have not yet been totally studied, might create much serious situation than the results actually showed.

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