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Forge Risk Assessment


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Hi everyone
New to the site and would really welcome some advice. Anyone out there completed a Risk Assessment for operating and working with forge? I work in Safety and can identify the common hazards - heat, sparks, scald, ventilation, electrical, slip, trips etc but as not my area of expertise would welcome any advice if anyone has done one. Forge is coke fired and being commissioned for our contracted farrier.
Many thanks

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Make a list of all the body parts you can do without, and sign it.
It is up to you to protect everything NOT on the list.

You have tried to limit your question to the forge, and farrier, but the craft goes well beyond that. Everything in blacksmithing is either Hot, Heavy, Sharp, or Dangerous. Personal safety is just that, your personal safety that you must address on a personal level. We have to educate ourselves as to the dangers of the craft.

Several blacksmiths started into the craft before the age of 10. They were taught to be careful, and how to be safe.

Education and information is the key. Study, ask questions, and then apply the information. The risk rests squarely between the ears of the individual, the person who should use their brain to decide just how safe THEY want to be.

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Anything that is 100% safe is probably not any fun.
However, having spent most of my life working In ERs and knowing full well the value of risk assessment, not even I am 100% safe, sometimes much to my chagrin, embarasement and pain and the amusement of my friends and family.

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Shuggs, Another industrial safety guy here. In you job risk assesment, (required by OSHA for those who don't do safety for a living) You would need to address the issues for each threat. For instance,
eyes, With the forge and hammering etc safety glasses with side sheilds required for all operations. Polycarbonate naturally filters the ir. A flip up shade 2 or three is nice for brightness control when looking into the forge.
If a power wire wheel is used, a face sheild over the safety glasses for face protection. Same for grinding.
Thermal, I would look to at least a 100% cotton outer layer, and perhaps if uniforms areprovided a flame resistant cotton uniform same as for welders. If short sleeves are worn then kevlar sleeves for the arms.
Farriers need an apron for protection of the thighs when shoeing, and an apron is also good to protect the groin from hot stuff.

When shoeing the darn animals step on the feet so steel toe, and strongly consider meta-tarsel protection as they often step above the toe cap. The meta-tarsel guards also protect against dropped tools and hot scale and so forth.

I would think electrical threats small if all electrical equipment is properly wired to current sode and GFI protected.

Noise will be a threat, and hearing protection should be choosen the suits the wearer and has NRR suitable for the Db level.

Hand protection is an issue. It is very difficult for most to wear aglove on the hammer hand and retain a safe grasp. Tong hand most wear a glove and either a leather palm or kevlar is most used.

Trips are an issue if good housekeeping is not maintained, but not much different than any other shop.
Hope this helps. If not ask.

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IMO the tool responsible for most serious injuries in a blacksmith shop is the hammer. Hammering is an activity that can easily generate repetitive motion injuries and once these are established they are very hard to get rid of. By the time symptoms appear its already late. Too many smiths can no longer swing a hammer or have to wear a brace to do so. It pays to train onself in an ergonomically sound hammering technique.

Another form of incremental injury is hearing loss. Hearing loss is usually irreversible. hearing aids are expensive, they dont work very and they are not much fun. Every few years I buy a box of good quality foam ear plugs and use them whenever hammering or running machinery. I also use them when vacuming (which isnt often) and on airplane trips. I just toss them in the laundry and reuse them.

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