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High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

(OP)
I am beginning a project to investigate and then come up with a solution to high levels of carbon monoxide encountered by workers on a blast furnace casthouse floor. Can anyone suggest what data/information I need to obtain in order to analyze the problem and then develop a solution?

Thanks for your help.

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

What exactly is the problem? Producing CO or getting the worker's fresh O2?

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

(OP)
Actually, both. When the workers are on the casthouse floor they often encounter areas of high CO concentrations. They wear personal CO monitors which are constantly alarming so they can only work in the areas for a few minutes. The floor apparently needs to be better ventilated to provide the workers with fresh air to allow them to work on the floor for longer periods of time.

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

From what I've read, OSHA limits workplace exposure levels to 35 ppm. Based on the nature of the process, it's probably impossible to eliminate the production of CO, or seal it off from the workers.

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

To qualify I am an industrial hygienist and I have worked in steel - granted a scrap outfit in Seattle two 125 ton arc furnaces and rolling mills.  I am glad it was not one of the blast furnaces.  The favorite answer from management was "we done it this way for 30 years and we aint changin now"  OR worse yet cant be done.

What are you calling high levels??  At or below TLV pEL, at or below excursion value, at or below IDLH.

IF your only monitoring is the personal CO monitors then you need to do some more.

Are you recording the values of the personal monitors or just using them for employeee alert.  Do they have a readout and are the employees recording what is going on and what the CO level was when alarmed?  Are the units properly calibrated to a standard gas mix?

 In this case I would set up some monitors in fixed locations and take 8 hour samples.  That will give you some baseline average conc. without a lot of "interferance".

The next step is to determine when the high and low CO emissions occur.  Again do sampling during these evolutions.  While these are running you need to stay and observe and take notes of what is going on who is doing what etc etc.

AT this stage you should have some pretty good idea of when and where the CO is coming from.

THe next big trick is to see if you can control the emission OR answer the question do the employees REALLY need to be there?  Can it be done with a machine etc etc.

You may not be able to control the source and may have to provide more fresh air to the area.  This of course will have a cost but if you use outside air it will help reduce heat stress.

Dan Bentler

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

I agree with Mr. Bentler (previous post). Make-up air strategically introduced into the area occupied by the operators will dilute the CO. How much make-up air needs to be determined based on the severity of the CO problem. Also consider the discharge temperature of the Make-up air system during the various seasons. Is this a problem all year round by the way? Often times these things surface during winter months when the plant is buttoned up.

RE: High CO levels on blast furnace casthouse floor

Ventguy is right
Think about the seasons.  Winter all the doors may be closed therefore not as much fresh air in summer when doors are open to provide cooling and smoke reduction.
Winter you may have to heat the makeup air kinda doubt around steel furnaces but you never know.
Summer of course may require air conditioning (chilling) that is going to be EXPENSIVE around furnaces - you may need to provide a room where they can go to cool off such as the operators room.

However you look at it this is not an easy problem with an easy fix, foundries, forge shops, steel mills all have the same basic problem.

Dan Bentler

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