Dust Hazards in the Steel Mill
Electric arc furnaces in steel mills produce dust made up of a variety of different metals and other materials. Many of these materials are harmful to human health. These dusts present a health risk to anyone who has to work in areas such as operator pulpits where dust levels are high. In enclosed spaces like transformer vaults, motor control center rooms or other electrical rooms; conductive metal dusts can cause an arc flash hazards. All critical spaces require an extra level of protection from harmful dusts.
Health Risks from Steel Mill Dust
Steel mills produce metal dust that contains a mixture of large and small particles. The exact components of the dust depends on the type of steel and the process. In general, the most common metal is iron, followed by carbon, lime, zinc, manganese, calcium, and silicon, but the dust often includes metals such as lead, arsenic, and cobalt which are highly toxic1. The Material Safety Data Sheet for steel mill electric arc furnace dust warns that inhalation can cause allergic reactions, cancer, lung damage, weakness, personality changes, kidney damage, and problems with the brain and nervous system.