Here is the third and final installment of David Pye's blog series on safety in the heat-treat workplace.

Protective Clothing and First Aid

Here are some guidelines to follow. 

  • Wear eye protection (goggles or a full facemask). When operating a salt bath, be sure to wear a facemask with complete head protection against salt splashes.
  • Wear a full heat-resistant jacket with long sleeves for arm protection.
  • Wear long-sleeved heat-resistant gloves.
  • Wear appropriate foot protection with safety boots or safety shoes.
  • Wear appropriate ear protection against excessive noise.
  • Develop a list of specialized heat treaters who can monitor the safety aspects of the department.
  • Develop a first-aid team and/or individual who has at least been trained in first aid. The first aider(s) should at least be able to deal with burns that may occur in the department.
  • Develop a good first-aid kit. Ask a local doctor for assistance.
  • Develop a relationship with emergency services personnel within your geographic area of operation. Visit the hospital and fire department. In addition, have an updated knowledge of responders’ tele-phone numbers, including the hospital, ambulance and fire department.


Fire Safety and Prevention

Here are some guidelines to follow. 

  • Never use water to extinguish an oil fire. It can aggravate and cause the fire to spread even farther. If possible, starve the fire of oxygen by covering it with a heat-resistant blanket and/or use a fire extinguisher.
  • Have CO₂ (namely, a fire extinguisher) and gas detectors at strategic locations within the heat-treatment shop.
  • Do not enter a confined space without conducting a confined-space entry meeting so that all parties fully understand their function.
  • Confined-space entries by individuals without a backup is a recipe for serious potential accidents.



Regular furnace maintenance must be mandatory in any heat-treatment shop. The furnace and its control systems need to be regularly maintained. Without the furnace and its associated equipment, nothing is treated. Your furnace equipment are your assets! 

People are also your assets. Ensure that employee safety is mandatory. Perform regular meetings within your organization via a safety committee with management to discuss and/or address potential safety issues. 

Lastly, have all of the appropriate safety procedures and emergency contact numbers available and listed in a manual of standard operating procedures.