Health and Safety

The Iron and Steel industry is a heavy industry which comes with many in-built hazards, and Ravenscraig was no exception. As the industry’s working practices were modernised many safety procedures were put in place, including the ever growing use of safety equipment. However, traditions and knowledge are passed down between workers, and in some instances the men felt that the equipment that was there to protect them would in fact be more of a hinder than a help.


Ravenscraig - First Tap, 1957

Ravenscraig – First Tap, 1957
(Note the regular work clothes and how the workers are casually standing next to the hot metal)
© Unknown – see B Hall


The International Labour Office’s code of practice Safety and Health in the Iron and Steel industry lists the most common causes of injury and illness as:

  1. Slips, trips and falls on the same level
  2. Falls from height
  3. Unguarded machinery
  4. Falling objects
  5. Engulfment
  6. Working in confined spaces
  7. Moving machinery, on-site transport, forklifts and cranes
  8. Exposure to controlled and uncontrolled energy sources
  9. Exposure to asbestos
  10. Exposure to mineral wools and fibres
  11. Inhalable agents (gases, vapours, dusts and fumes)
  12. Skin contact with chemicals (irritants, solvents and sensitisers)
  13. Contact with hot metal
  14. Fire and explosion
  15. Extreme temperatures
  16. Radiation (non-ionising, ionising)
  17. Noise and vibration
  18. Electrical burns and electric shock
  19. Manual handling and repetitive work
  20. Exposure to pathogens (e.g. legionella)
Ravenscraig - Last Shift, 1992

Ravenscraig – Last Shift, 1992
(taken from the same view point – note the use of safety equipment and the inclusion of an elevated platform away from the molten metal)
© Unknown – see B Hall


Comments & Quotes

“I once met the farmer who used to graze his cattle on the farm just east of Ravenscraig (the Cleland side) and he told me that the cows used to lose their teeth, the cause later being traced to the dust from the iron ore being ingested.”

John T, ‘Mac of the Isles’ – The Hidden Glasgow Forums


“If I recall two guys were repairing the ore conveyor into the blast furnace. Somehow it was switched on. Sometime later the poor guy’s cars were located in the car park. Their jackets were still on the pegs. They found tools beside the conveyor. I don’t think their bodies were ever found.

There were quite a lot of accidents some fatal in these steel works. One I worked on was a report concerning carbon monoxide poisoning. Years later I met someone in the street and his comment was “I don’t think anyone went anywhere near that place after you did the investigation. They put a padlock on the place”.

Then the colour coded hard hat business! Give the boss a different coloured hard hat and the workers can spot him coming a mile off and get back to work!”

Moonbeam – The Hidden Glasgow Forums