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HSE silica campaign is impacting on UK foundries

In October 2022 the HSE started their latest proactive inspection campaign looking at users of silica.  This campaign includes foundries.  However, in additional to the control of silica on site inspectors are also reviewing metal fume and also dusts.  The seven key steps in producing castings are being inspected.

Between the start of October 2022 and the end of  December a number of foundries have been visited as part of this campaign.   SHIFT is able here to provide an update on the total number of enforcement actions (improvement &/or prohibition notices) that have been issued since the start of the HSE 2022/23 work year.

In total
19 foundries received a total of 63 notices.
57 of these were improvement and 6 were prohibition notices.
The number of notification of contravention letters issued is not known, as these are not made public.

(Note that all enforcement notices issued to foundries as part of the silica campaign running between 3rd October and 31st December 2022 are made public and are ‘live’ on the public enforcement pages of the HSE website).  Go to  for the details

2 are large foundries, 9 are medium and 8 are small. Iron, steel, aluminium and copper base alloys are all included, and the foundry types are sand casting, investment casting and pressure die-casting.

Since the start of October, which is the period from when the silica campaign visits were the generally the primary reason for the HSE being on site:
43 improvement notices and 3 prohibition notices were issued to 10 foundries and 1 also received 2 prohibition notices.

The notices since October have 92 breaches of legislation detailed within them.
Key legislation breached is:
HSWA – 44 occurrences
COSHH – 21 occurrences
PUWER – 13 occurrences
MHSWR – 4 occurrences

The remaining 10 breaches were for VAWR, NAWR, EAW, PPEWR (PPE Regs), DSEAR and W(HSW)R. (Please speak to your HS staff on site if you are not familiar with these acronyms).

26 notices relate directly to health issues. All but three of these were about issues with exposure to either RCS, vibration, noise, molten metal fume. The remaining 3 were for ‘not undertaking thorough examination and testing of LEV’, ‘not undertaking health surveillance’ and, ‘disappointing’ as it seems, ‘having inadequate welfare provision for washing for shop floor employees’.

Of the 20 notices for safety, just over half of them are for guarding issues. Also highlighted was ‘not maintaining safe gas and electricity networks on site’ (1 foundry for both), ‘untrained FLT operators’, ‘housekeeping’, ‘not wearing PPE while pouring molten metal’ and ‘not having a competent person to help the directors with their obligations to health and safety’.

It is incumbent on all foundry directors and senior managers to know the risks within their unique businesses and to ensure that the occupational health and physical safety of all their employees is protected while working on site.


If your UK foundry is not a member of SHIFT and is interested in learning more please contact Richard Heath at [email protected] or call 0121 809 3502