The scrap metal industry is nearly a $30 billion industry which has created millions of jobs, but the recycling process used varies based on the material. Not all materials are the same, and some scrap metal workers handle common steel or copper on a daily basis. On the other hand, those same workers can encounter radioactive materials which require a different method for disposal. If you’re searching for more information about what to know about radioactive material in scrap metal, our experts discuss more below.
Radioactive materials can contaminate the metal and facility
To maximize profits in the metal recycling industry, companies want metal in its purest form. Though, to ensure workers handle metals properly, they must inspect the materials prior to sorting, which is where some problems can occur. If a worker unknowingly handles a radioactive material, the worker may place the material with non-radioactive materials which causes several issues. First, melting radioactive materials can contaminate the rest of your metals, forcing you to dispose of everything that was previously handled. Next, the radiation can contaminate your equipment and force you to shut down temporarily until you can clean up. Companies that handle radioactive material must be licensed to do so. Without a license, you could face fines and even permanent closure by the government.
Exposed workers could be at risk
Unfortunately, employees in the scrap metal industry are at a fairly high risk of being exposed to radiation, especially if they aren’t aware that the material is radioactive. Exposure to radiation can result in health problems such as burns and radiation sickness. Though, radiation can also lead to more serious issues like cancer and heart disease. Of course, you want the best for your employees, and there are preventative measures you can take. First, if you’re not licensed to handle radioactive materials, avoid it in the first place. Sometimes materials will find their way through, in which case you could install a radiation detector. Lastly, train your employees so that if they happen to come in contact with radiation, they know that they need to report the exposure and clean themselves off.
Radioactive materials are nothing to take lightly, as you can tell by the potential health hazards. However, by taking note of what to know about radioactive material in scrap metal, you should have a safer and healthier work environment that remains profitable.
We understand that moving heavy materials like metal is challenging, and that’s why Moley Magnetics offers high-quality magnets, magnetic separators, industrial shears, and more that will exceed your expectations. Additionally, if you need an excavator grapple repair, we can do that too. Reach out to us for more information or to request a price.