Chemical Plant Safety: Ways to Protect the Workforce

Manufacturers of cobalt should observe chemical plant safety to protect their workers and also the environment.  Cobalt is a hard metal which resembles iron and nickel. Production of cobalt is important because this type of metal has many uses when combined with other metals or other substances. The use of cobalt can produce high temperature high speed cutting tools. The metal is also useful in electroplating and producing steel and stainless steels magnets.  Cobalt is also useful for coloring glass, porcelain, pots and tiles and producing an ink. In the medical world cobalt is used as cancer treatment. In agriculture, cobalt is used as an additive to feeds for cattle.

As people enjoy the many benefits provided by cobalt, workers who are instruments in the production of stuffs from cobalt face the perils that can be brought by the substance if manufacturers will not impose chemical plant safety in the work areas.  Safety in chemical plants should always be observed to avoid chemical plant accidents. Workers’ exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume can be in the form of inhalation, physical contact of eye or skin to the substance or intake. Plant owners should implement the following methods to control the excessive exposure of their workers to cobalt metal, cobalt dust and cobalt created fumes:

  • The processing area should be enclosed but properly installed with local exhaust ventilation
  • The workers should be required to wear protective clothing and use protective equipments

Per recommendation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers should be allowed to work for eight hours but the limit of exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not be more than 0.1mg for every cubic meter of air. Per recommendation of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for workers working up to ten hours a day or 40 hours a week, the limit of their exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not exceed 0.05 mg for every cubic meter of air. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) however, lowers down limit of exposure to the substance to 0.02 mg for every cubic meter of air if workers will work ten hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Without chemical plant safety, plant manufacturers will not be able to observe the given exposure limits above.  As a result, workers can suffer dermatitis and lung diseases. Workers who have skin allergies can be severely affected by cobalt when physical contact is present. Workers who inhale cobalt dust or fume are likely to suffer pulmonary tract infections. When ingested, cobalt can cause poisoning that can affect a worker’s bone marrow, damage his thyroid gland and damage his pancreas’ alpha cells.

Plant owners who manufacture cobalt must never forget that their workers are one of the most valuable assets in their companies. There can be no other people to do the work that they are capable of. Aside from a reasonable pay, they deserve to have a safe workplace.

 

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