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STEELMILLSSTEELMILLS

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STEEL
MILLS

Steelmaking
Process

Theconventionalsteelmakingprocess,initsmostbasic
form,consistsofthefollowingsequenceofsteps.

Blast
furnace
ironmaking
Threerawmaterials(iron
ore,coal,andlimestone)aremodified,broughttogether,
andsmeltedinablastfurnacetoproduceironfor
steelmaking.Iron,usuallyinmoltenform,istransportedin
hotmetalcarstothesteelmaking
furnaces
where
impuritiesareremovedandalloyingelementsareadded.

Moltensteelisthencast(usuallyusingacontinuous
casting
process)inlargeblockssuchasslabs,blooms,
billets,oringots,whicharesubsequentlyreheated,
cleaned,andreshapedrepeatedly,andoftencoated,ina
seriesofoperationstoproducethevarietyofsteel
productsthatweknow.

Iron
ores
areminedinvariousconcentrations.Allgrades
requiresomeimprovement.High-gradeoremayneedonly
crushing,screening,andwashingforablastfurnace.
Lessergradesandfinesrequirefurthertreatmentto
produceusableorepelletsforblastfurnaces.Muchofthis
processingoccursawayfromthesteelmillsothatonly
highgradematerialhastobetransported.Sintering
isa
processatthesteelmillwhichmakeslumpfeedsuitable
forblastfurnacesfrommaterialswhichoncewerewasted
orefines,fluedust(reclaimedfromblastfurnace
gases),coalfines,andcokebreeze(dust).Theyare
spreadonamovingbeltandignite,producingsinter,a
clinker-likecake,whichisquenched,brokenup,andfedto
theblastfurnaces.

Coke
isthestrongporousformofcarbonusedasthefuel
mixedwithironoreinblastfurnaceironmaking.Itis
producedby"baking"pulverizedcoalathightemperatures
incokeovens,afterwhichthehotcokeisquenchedwith
watertopreventfurtheroxidation.Thecokeiscrushed
andscreenedtoremovefinerparticles,whichare
recycled.Manyvolatileandtoxicchemicals,unwantedin
blastfurnaces,arereleasedduringthecokingprocess.
Thegasesarecapturedandpassedthroughabyproduct
plantwhichproducesanumberofvaluablebyproducts
suchastar,ammonialiquor,ammoniumsulphate,light
oils,andfuelgas.Thecokeovengasisusedforfiringin
thecokeovensandispipedforusearoundtheplant.
Limestoneandlime,producedfromlimestone,areused
asfluxestoremoveimpuritiesfromironoreandsteel
respectively.Limestoneandlimearenormallyproduced
offsiteandstoredforuse.

Insteelmaking,moltenironjoinsscrapsteel,lime,and
alloyingmaterialsinafurnaceandwithinjectedoxygen
theyformasteelheatwiththerightrecipetomeetthe
requiredspecifications.Sinceoxygenisneededin
considerablequantitiesinsteelmaking,anoxygenplantis
oftenassociatedwithasteelmill.Excesscarbonandother
unwantedchemicalsareoxidizedwiththehelpoflimeasa
fluxtoformafloatingslagofunwantedimpurities.

Themostcommonsteelmakingfurnacesarethebasic
oxygenfurnace(BOF)andtheelectricfurnace.

Basic
oxygen
furnaces
(BOFs)arelocatedclosetoblast
furnacesandarechargedwithprimarilymoltenironwith

somescrapsteel.Pureoxygenisblownintothevesseland
theresultingreactiongeneratesalotofcarbonmonoxide
duringblowingtime,whichcanbeburnedinawasteheat
furnacebuiltintothehoodsystembeforethefluegasesare
dischargedtoaprecipitatorandbaghousesystem.

Electric
furnaces
areusedinsomefacilitiestoproduce
stainlesssteelsandinotherstoproducemildsteels.
Electricfurnacesarechargedprimarilywithscrapironand
sponge-ironpelletsorsteelscrapwhichhasbeenanalyzed
andsorted.

Twotypesofelectricfurnacesaretypicallyused:

1)
theelectricarcfurnace,generatingheatfromthearcs
fromonecarbonelectrodetothemetalandbacktothe
othercarbonelectrodefromthemetalandfromthe
resistanceofthecurrentflowthroughthemetalitself,and
2)
theinductionfurnace,whichbehaveslikea
transformer,inwhichthemetalactsasthecoreand
secondarywindingandenoughheatisgeneratedto
meltthemetal.

Oncesteelismade,theproductusuallyproceedstothe
continuouscastingstage.Thisemploysaprocesswhich
utilizesoscillating,coolingmolds,goingdirectlyinthisone
stagefrommoltensteeltosemi-finishedproducts,
includingslabs,blooms,andbillets.

Theconventionalintermediatesteps,inusefordecades,
whichinvolvedcastingingotsandrepeatedlypassing
themthroughroughingmills,havelargelybeenreplaced
bycontinuouscasting.Theoldingotprocessmayremain
insomemillsasabackupmethod.

Bytheuseofreheatfurnacestobringthemtohotrolling
temperatures,theslabs,blooms,orbilletsareshaped
usinghotrollingmills slabsintosheetandstrip,blooms
intostructuralsandrails,andbilletsintobars,rod,wire,
andsomepipeandtube.

Beyondthisthesteelshapesundergoanumberofcold
formingprocessessuchascoldrolling,pickling,
tempering,andforging.Theycanundergoanumberof
finishingprocessesincludingelectroplating,galvanizing,
annealing,paintingandavarietyofproprietaryfinishes
dependingontheenduseofthesteel.

Areas
of
Steel
Plant

Raw
materials
processing

Ironore:
-Pelletization,kilns,etc. normallyoffsite

-Sinterplant

Coke:
-Facilitiesforcoalstorage,handling,and
preparation coalbins,blendedcoal
bunker
-Machineryforchargingcoal,pushingcoke
andquenching larrycar,quenchcar
andtower

-Cokeovens banksofovensthatbake
thecoalathightemperatures

-Machineryfortransportingandscreening
coke-cokecrusher

-By-productsplant

Limestone
-Quarries

-Crushingandsintering

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STEELMILLSSTEELMILLS
Blast
Furnaces

Stockshed coke,ironore,andlimestonebinsand
hoppers
Stoves
Casthouse
Gascleaningsystem dustcatchers,scrubbers,
precipitators,thickeners

Steelmaking
Steelmaking
Basicoxygenfurnaces
Electricfurnaces
TeemingandCasting

Slab
casting
Hot
rolling
Pickling
and
finishing
Cold
rolling
Tinning,
electroplating
and
galvanizing
lines
Acid
plants
and
storage
Utilities

Powerplants boilerstations
Watertreatment filtrationplants,clarifiers,thickeners

Pressure
Vessels
Boilers
Heatexchangers
Furnaces

Ductwork

Precipitators

Tanks
clarifiers,thickeners,holdingtanks,etc.

Stacks
breeching

Scrubbers

Cyclones

Bins
coalandcoke

Chutes

Health
and
Safety
Hazards

Forconstructioncrewsworkinginsteelplants,thereare
manyhazards.Thefollowingpointssummarizethemain
hazardareas.

1)
Pinch
points
and
moving
equipment
Transportation
equipment
Bulkmaterialhandlingandtransportisamajoractivity
forasteelmill.Therearerailroadsystemswithtracks
allovertheplant,hotmetalcars,transfercars,buggies,
chargingcars,hoppercars,scrapers,coilcarriers,slab
carriers,andmanyothers.

Overhead
cranes
Overheadcranesformanintegralpartofoperating
andmaintenancepracticethroughoutasteelmill.
Manyhazardsareassociatedwiththeiruse,including

overheadloads,hotmetalsplash,equipmentfailure,
communicationbreakdown,andthefactthatcrane
operatorsmaynotbeawareofconstructionworkers
inunexpectedlocations.

Operating
equipment
Productionequipmentmayoperateonatimedbasis,
itmayberemote-controlled,oroperatorsmaynot
expectnon-operatingpersonnelonsite.

Constructionpersonnelmustlearnplantsafety
practices,alarms,accessrequirementsandlimitations,
andemergencyproceduresforwhicheversectionofthe
milltheymustenter.Theymustfollowthese
procedures.

2)
Explosion
and
burn
hazards
Spattersorspillsofmoltenmaterialareanobvious
sourceofburnsandfires.Contactbetweenmolten
metalorslagandmoisturewillresultinviolent
explosionsandspatteringofmoltenmaterial.

Anetworkofpipingtransportsfuelgasesandoxygen
aroundtheplant allofwhichhaveapotentialfor
explosionandfire.Sparksandfiresaroundoxygenlines
areespeciallyhazardous.Oneareaofasteelmillwitha
highfirehazardisthecokeovenbyproductplant,which
sharesmanycharacteristicswithoilrefineries.

3)
Health
and
hygiene
hazards
Plantoperatingpracticesandprecautionsmustbe
followedatalltimes.Thecontentsofallstorageand
pipingsystemsshouldbedetermined.MSDSsshould
beobtainedandreviewedinadvance.Information
shouldbereadilyavailablefromtheclient/milloperators.

Thetableonthenextpagerelatesvariouslocationsina
steelmilltothehealthhazardstheypose.

Chemical
Hazards

Thefollowingisalistofthemajorchemicalhazards
presentinsteelmillsidentifiedinthetableandtheir
effects.Itisnotintendedtobecomprehensive.Chemicals
andchemicalprocessesmayvaryfromplanttoplant.

Acids
picklingandtinninglinesandacidregenerationplants
(hydrochloric)
hydrochloricacidorsulphuricacid
highlycorrosive,canbedangerouslyreactiveinhigh
concentrations
Ammonia

veryirritatingtotheeyes,noseandthroat
highexposurecancausechokingandbreathing
difficulties
cokeovenbyproductsplant.
Asbestos

canbepresentinblastfurnaceandstoves,by-
productsplant,steam,generation(eithercentralor
wasteheatboilers)
asbestosis,mesothelioma,lungcancer
Byproduct
plant
light
oil

containingchemicalssuchasbenzeneand
naphthaleneandminoramountsoftolueneand
xylene
cokeovenbyproducts
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334
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STEELMILLSSTEELMILLS
PRIMARY
HYGIENE
HAZARD
LOCATIONS
IN
STEEL
MILLS
AREA
UNIT
HEALTH
HAZARDS
Ironorepreparation
Sinterplant
-general
-baghouse
dust,primarilyironoxides
possiblysilicadust
someBOFdustsmaycontainlead
dust,confinedspace
Cokeovens
Coalhandling-coalbins
-coalbunkers
coaldust
Cokehandling
cokedust
cokeovenemissionsfromhotcoke
Cokeovens(invicinityofbatteries)
cokeovenemissions(designatedsubstance)
sulphurcompounds(H2S)
CO
Byproductplant
naphthalene
xylene-possible
toluene-possible
coaltarpitchvolatiles
asbestos(insulationonpipesandtanks)
ammonia(anhydrousammonia)
cokeovengas
carbonmonoxide,CO
Hydrogensulphide,H2S
benzene
Miscellaneous-COgaslines
driplegs-seeabove,basicallynaphthalene
Blastfurnaces
Casthouseandaroundfurnace
carbonmonoxide
silicaproducts-fromfurnacelining(refractory)duringarelineandfrom
runnerlining
noise-fromblastmains&tuyeres
asbestos-possible
Stoves
asbestos
carbonmonoxide,CO
Dustcatcher,scrubber,precipitator
carbonmonoxide,CO
confinedspaces
SlagPits
sulphurdioxide,SO2
Steelmaking
General
dusts-mostlyironoxides,lime,silica(duringreline)
radiantheat
Precipitatorandbaghouse
dust-mostlyironoxides,includingleadfromleadedsteels(oftenno
longerproduced)
confinedspaces
limeinbaghouseandstorageshed
Wasteheatboilers
mildsteeltubesprobable(notstainless)
asbestos
Finishing
operations
Picklingandacidregeneration
hydrochloric(HCI)acid
-acidmistandvapour
-ironchloridedust(irritant)
canbesulphuricacid
Annealing
batchanneal-ceramicfibrefromblanketsatbase
possiblecarbonmonoxide,CO
Cleaninglines
sodiumhydroxide-corrosive
Tinninglines
sulphuricacid
otheracids
Steam
generation
Centralboilerfacility
usuallyfiredbyCOgas,BFgas,and/ornaturalgas
highnoiseinsomeareas,asbestos
Wasteheatboilers(seealso
steelmaking)
mildsteeltubesprobable
asbestos

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STEELMILLSSTEELMILLS
acuteeffects-typicalsolventeffects,centralnervous
systemdepression
chroniceffects-carcinogens(cancer-causingagents);
somecauseliverandkidneydamage.
Carbon
monoxide
(CO)

odourless,colourless,poisonousgas

makesupalargepartoffuelgases(22-30%ofblast
furnacegas,5-10%ofcokeovengas)
manyhazardouslocations,especiallyaroundblast
furnaces alsocokeovensandsteelmaking
canleakoutfromtopsofblastfurnaces,aroundhot
stoves,pipelines;canoccurduetosuddenshutdown
ofblowingengines,boilerrooms,ventilationfans,and
frominsufficientgasremovalduringelectrostatic
precipitatorcleaning.
Coal
tar
pitch
volatiles

cokeovenbyproductsplant
skinirritant,cancerofthelung,skin,scrotum
photosensitivedermatitis.
Coke
oven
emissions

inthevicinityofthecokeovenbatteries
a designatedsubstance inOntario,carcinogenic
theremustbeacontrol/monitoringprogram.
Coke
oven
gas

highincarbonmonoxideandmaycontaintrace
amountsofcarcinogens
contentscanincludebenzene(0.4%),H2S,and
hydrogencyanide.
Dusts

Iron
oxide:
(foundinsinterplant,beforeblast
furnace,andaroundsteelmaking)in
additiontobeingirritatingtoeyes,this
causesciderosis,whichisaspecifically
namedtypeofpneumoconiosisor
obstructivelungdisease;i.e.,dust
buildup,notfibrosis
coal:
-irritanttotheeyes,etc.
-pulmonaryfibrosis,pneumoconiosis
coke:
-thereissomesuspicionthatcokeisa
carcinogen
silica:
-silicosis
-refractorybricklinedfurnacesandladles
-mayoccurasdustatsinterplant,
primarilyduringfurnacerepair

iron
chloride
-aroundhydrochloricacidregeneration
dust:
plant
-respiratorytractirritanttosomepeople.

Hydrogen
Sulphide
(H2S)

aroundcokeovenbatteries
toxicgas(500-700ppmcanbeinstantlyfatal)
rotteneggsmellatverylowconcentrations-below100
ppm
explosiveathighconcentrations.
Sodium
hydroxide
(NaOH)
-cleaninglines(tinning)
-corrosive.

Sulphur
dioxide
(SO2)

blastfurnaceslagpits
gasirritatingtoeyes,nose,andthroat
overexposurecancausechokingandbreathing
difficulties
delayedreactiontooverexposurecanbefluidbuildup
inthelungs.

Other
Health
Hazards
Heat

Heatisgeneratedandusedalloverasteelplant.Care
mustbetakentocontroloverexposure.Thiscancomein
theformofextremeradiantheatinmanylocationswhere
therearehotormoltenmaterials.Caremustbeexercised
intheseplaces.Therearealsomanylocationswhere
strenuousworkmayhavetobedoneinhotlocations.
Heatstrokecanbeaconstantrisk,especiallyduring
warmweather.SeethechapteronHeatStressinthis
manual.

Noise

Noiseisahazardatmanylocationsinasteelmill.
Hearingprotectionisoftenrequiredandwarningsignsare
posted.Highnoiselevelsexist,forexample,aroundthe
tuyeresintheblastfurnacesoranyrollingmills.For
guidelinesonnoiseexposureandhearingprotection,refer
tothechapteronPersonalProtectiveEquipmentinthis
manual.

General

Beforeworkbegins,crewsshouldreceivetraininginthe
hazardsexistingintheworkareaandobtainandreview
thematerialsafetydatasheetsforanyhazardous
materialstowhichtheymaybeexposed.Theseshouldbe
readilyavailablefromtheclientorownerand,infact,
shouldbeobtainedatthetimeofbiddingtofacilitatejob
planning.Anyprotectiveequipmentusedshouldatleast
equalthatwornbytheclient'sworkersinthearea.

Piping
systems

The
contentsofpipingsystems,storagebins,andtanks
shouldbeknownandidentified.Knowthesystemof
identificationandwarningusedbytheowner.Thesemay
varyfromoneplanttoanother.

Confined
spaces

Specialattentionmustalwaysbepaidtoconfinedspace
entry.AlwayscomplywiththeConstructionRegulation
(OntarioRegulation213/91)asaminimum.Thesteelmill
willusuallyhaveanentrypermitsystemandrequirements
forentryandworkinconfinedspaces.Weldinginany
confinedspacemustbedonewithprecautions.Pay
specialattentionincaseswhereweldingisbeingdoneon
stainlesssteel,sincethechromiumreleasedisapossible
causeoflungcancer.

Emergency
Procedures

Thesteelmillwillhaveemergencyproceduresinplace.
Knowthewarningalarmsignalsandfollowthe
procedures.

Electromagnetic
fields

Onecontroversialtopicisthepotentialforhealthhazards
inthevicinityofhighelectromagneticfields.Thisconcern
shouldbemonitoredforfutureinformationandraised
whenconstructioncrewsworknearelectricfurnaces.

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