What Safety Precautions Need to be Taken When Using Heat Treating Equipment

Heat treating equipment is used to acquire specific properties from metal by subjecting it to high temperatures or cooling air. An integral part of the process is using a quench. Liquid quenches normally involve the use of molten salt, water-based solutions, and mineral oils. Other quenches are done using forced air or circulated gases. Workers who use heat treating equipment and quenches are at risk to a number of safety and health hazards. Taking basic safety precautions is a necessity to avoid preventable accidents.

Basic Precautions Every Worker Using Heat Treating Equipment Should Take

  • Wear heat-resistant protective clothing, gloves, safety glasses, and a face shield when using heat treating equipment. Burns may occur to unprotected areas of the body during the quenching process due to the temperature of the oils.

  • Ensure that all individual safety devices such as exhaust fans, air switches, and automatic shut-off valves are properly working before the furnace is ignited.

  • Check the areas where quenching will be done to ensure ventilation is adequate for keeping oil mists at the proper levels.

  • Stand to one side when lighting furnaces that are oil or gas-fired.

  • To decrease the risk of explosion, keep moisture from contaminating the quenching oil.

  • Use the proper tongs for every job. Ensure they are dry before submersing in the liquid carburizing pot.

  • Immediately clean up leaks and spills using a non-flammable absorbing product. Cat litter is one of the best products for absorbing spills that is inexpensive and available anywhere.

  • Cover the quench tanks when they are not being used. This will keep moisture from getting in and causing problems.

  • Keep all tools, baskets, jigs, and works areas free from oil contamination.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating or starting another task.

Precautions to Take When Using Heat Treating Equipment

  • Avoid inhaling fumes from the carburizing salt bath. Carbon monoxide is created during the carburizing process. Cyanide can also be a by-product of the process which is released into the air so keep the area well ventilated.

  • Keep rags covered in oil out of pockets and away from work surfaces. Change clothing which has spilled oil on it as soon as possible.

  • Avoid leaving open food and drink in quenching areas. Dangerous particles in the air can settle on food and be ingested.

  • Change clothing before entering food areas so transfer of particles does not occur.

Advances in heat treating equipment manufacturing ensure that products on the market are as safe to use as possible. Adhering to the simple guidelines above will not only make the work day run smoothly, but they will help in avoiding common mistakes and accidents.

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