Elkem’s production processes have a number of health challenges that are managed daily in Elkem’s organisation.
The main exposures that may lead to occupational diseases are:
- Exposure to quartz dust in mining, transportation and storage of quartz, and exposure to SiO2 dust in smelting halls that may cause lung diseases
- Exposure to PAH components in carbon paste production that may cause cancer
- Exposure to toxic chemicals in chemical processes to produce siloxane and silicone products.
- Exposure to noise
- Exposure to ergonomic challenges that may give long-term musculoskeletal damage
Adjustment and protection
These exposures are carefully managed at each applicable site with containment, work and work station adjustment, and, when necessary, personal protection equipment that is provided free of charge to all employees.
Many initiatives have also been implemented through the years to reduce exposure by reducing/eliminating sources of dust and noise, and substitution of hazardous substances in the production process.
Employees who are exposed for hazardous dust, chemicals and noise are also subject to extended medical follow-up. A medical examination sets a baseline for their health condition when hired, and routine medical examinations follow-up that this does not change over time.
Occupational disease rate
For the past three years there have been very few reports of possible occupational illnesses. Most of these are low-key ergonomic issues concerning strain and pain.
There have also been several reports of possible lung disease relating to dust exposure, but none have been fully documented as work related. All of these have been in Europe.