The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Foundry Society (AFS) recently renewed their alliance, with a continued goal of providing safety and health information related to personal protective equipment, heat stress, and reducing and preventing exposure to silica among employees in the metalcasting industry.

"OSHA and AFS have made significant accomplishments over the past two years," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Our alliance will continue to work together to provide AFS members and metalcasting businesses with free guidance and training resources to protect the well-being of employees in the foundry industry."

Through the alliance, AFS developed a manual titled "Control of Silica Exposure in Foundries" that provides information to help control the potential hazards of respirable crystalline silica. AFS also developed the "Guide for the Selection and Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Special Clothing for Foundry Operations" to help reduce the risks of exposure to foundry hazards. In addition, OSHA and AFS representatives spoke at conferences and meetings including the AFS 19th Environmental Health and Safety Conference and the 111th Metalcasting Congress. AFS representatives continue to serve on the editorial boards of OSHA Safety and Health Topics pages regarding Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout); Heat Stress; Lead; Powered Industrial Trucks; Silica, Crystalline; and Ventilation.

"The American Foundry Society remains committed to improving workplace health and safety in the metalcasting industry," said AFS president Paul Mikkola. "Renewing this alliance provides an opportunity for AFS and OSHA to continue to develop solutions to safety and health issues specific to our industry and to increase the sharing of valuable compliance assistance resources with employers, employees and the public."

AFS is an international organization founded in 1896 with approximately 10,000 members in 47 countries. The AFS Environmental, Health and Safety Committee assists foundries in providing a work environment free of identifiable safety and health hazards. The society has 52 local chapters and 33 AFS-affiliated student chapters in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.