Monday, January 29, 2018
"leaked out of control. 56 people suffered minor injuries...."
When the Aluminium Plant Safety Blog visits plants (with furnaces) we always ask “What are your emergency plans for a catastrophic furnace lining failure?” We then ask, where are your supplies? In our opinion the older the plant the more prepared they are. That could because they have had an incident and realize the importance of having enough supplies readily available to handle a large molten spill. In our opinion the newer plants fail to acknowledge this potential hazard and commonly will state that they will call the local fire department for assistance. Which we respond, “Do you believe that the local fire department has enough supplies on their trucks to handle a large spill at your plant?” If they answer yes, we respond have you confirmed your assumptions?
Here is a recent incident involving a furnace lining failure.
In an industrial hall in Germany on the evening of January 22, around 7 pm, aluminum, which had a temperature of 700 degrees, leaked out of control. 56 people suffered minor injuries.
According to initial findings due to a technical defect of a melting furnace approx. 700 degrees hot aluminum ran out uncontrolled and put stored pallets loaded with granules and cement sacks on fire.
Eight employees brought to hospitals
In addition, according to the police noted several holes in the furnace, which accelerated the outflow of the liquid metal. Cooling was no longer possible due to the defect. Due to heavy smoke in the industrial hall, 56 employees suffered minor injuries in the form of headache, nausea and respiratory problems. As a precaution, eight employees were transported to hospitals in three nearby cities for further treatment.
Sandwall stops the liquid metal
The forces deployed by several fire brigades of the district, including the fire brigade from the local international airport were able to cool down the hot aluminum by adding water and set up a sandwall around the relevant smelting furnace, thus stopping the untargeted runoff of the liquid metal.