Lowery photo

Alex W. Lowery

Writer, Speaker, Blogger

Location icon United States

I am currently General Manager of Wise Chem LLC, our products are synonymous with safety in preventing molten metal explosions.

Since 2012 I have written a safety focused columns for Aluminium Times, and now for Light Metal Age magazine. My passion for safety has led to interviewing CEO's about safety in their own companies, founding the Aluminium Plant Safety Blog, and assisting trade associations around the globe. Finally, I speak to several thousand workers around the world annually about variety of of safety related topics.

Portfolio
Aluminium International Today
03/01/2020
Whatever the Weather

Our industry is not immune to its extreme weather events. Each plant has to be prepared for natural disasters unique to its own location. Companies without plans and preparation endanger their workers and nearby communities.

Light Metal Age
02/01/2020
How the Market Price of Aluminum Affects Safety

The cyclical nature of the aluminum market also means that companies have had to tighten their belts multiple times, which may have consequences that go unseen for years. This can be considered through the

Light Metal Age
12/01/2019
Addressing the Safety of Mobile Equipment

Mobile equipment—forklifts, trucks, tractors, and specialty equipment—is necessary throughout aluminum operations. Mobile equipment is a hazard that can move from location to location, requiring safety parameters that extend throughout the facility.

Furnace International Magazine
09/01/2019
Preventing Molten Metal Explosions

Molten metal explosions make the media spotlight shine the brightest on our industry than any other topic. Many in our industry fear this unwanted attention will be more focused after a series of incidents that made the news in 2017-2018. In a span of 10 months four casthouses suffered molten metal explosions

Aluminium Times
07/01/2019
Furnace Safety

Furnace incidents in our industry typically involve one of the following; molten metal, combustion, relining, and maintenance.

Aluminium Times
04/01/2019
The Hidden Danger of Oil-Based Hydraulic Fluids

A 2018 incident in California in the USA educated one aluminium company on how dangerous their practice of using flammable hydraulic fluids in machinery was. This column covers this hazard.

Aluminium Times
11/01/2018
Guarding Checklists Should Not Be Ignored - Part 2

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the importance of utilising machine guarding checklists in preventing future incidents. In part one (Aluminium Times, September 2018) I wrote ‘How can we as an industry reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that are occurring needlessly on annual basis?’

Aluminium Times
09/30/2018
Guarding Checklists should not be ignored - Part 1

Recent incidents have shown machinery guarding hazards are present in every facility in our industry regardless of age. The best way to identify and correct any potential hazards is by completing a machine guarding checklist for each piece of machinery.

Aluminium Times
07/01/2018
Electrical Power Systems Can Strike Anytime

Electrical arc flash, or flashover, is one of the most deadly and least understood hazards of electricity, and it is a prevalent hazard in our industry.

Aluminium International Today
06/01/2018
Improve Industry Safety

Chinese aluminium plants recently have suffered several catastrophic explosions. The vast majority of these explosions could easily have been prevented if the aluminium companies had followed industry best practices toward safety.

The Safety Guide 2018
02/01/2018
Moving Forward With A View To The Past

I was asked to write the introduction to the inaugural Safety Guide Edition. I am very proud of this publication, because of the potential it holds to inform and educate our industry on the best practices toward safety.

Aluminium Times
01/01/2018
Molten Metal Bad on Water

You do not think of the importance of Wise Chem coatings (E-212-F and E-115) until after a molten metal spill and no explosion occurs.

Aluminium Times
01/01/2018
Proper Hard Hats May Save Lives

The lack of uniform head protection enforcement in our industry adds to the danger if an incident occurs.

Aluminium Times
11/01/2017
Get Clear On Operating Lease Equipment

The trend of leasing moveable equipment will continue to grow, and how our plants address the associated training issue may have life and death consequences.

Aluminium Times Magazine
09/01/2017
Heighten your crane awareness

The hazards associated with moveable equipment in our industry are well known. These hazards are most commonly associated with wheeled vehicles on the ground. Lesser known but just as dangerous are the cranes that move overhead.

Aluminium Times Magazine
07/01/2017
What the price ability to defeat any fire?

The column talks about the problems that can arise if a plant has the minimal amount (to satisfy government regulations) of fire extinguishers.

Aluminium Times Magazine
04/30/2017
Summer dehyddration prevention programmes do work!

If your plant is not in the midst of planning and preparing for its summer heat illness prevention program during the winter and spring, you are placing your workers at a disadvantage.

Aluminium Times
01/01/2017
Listen if you have any sense

The majority of hazards workers are exposed to on a daily basis can have an immediate effect on their wellbeing. If a worker fails to follow their training or skips steps when working with hazards involving safe isolation, confined space, moveable equipment, etc. the immediate result could be an injury to themselves or a coworker. There are some hazards in our industry where the result may take months or even years for the injury to become known.

Aluminium Times
10/01/2016
Beware Crucible Truck Accident Risks

The severity of accidents related to transportation of molten metal in our plants and over the road has increased at an alarming rate.

Aluminium Times
09/01/2016
Check out updated AA handling guidelines

First published in 1980, the Guidelines for Handling Molten Metal has been a constant in an ever changing industry. Commonly referred to as our industry's best practice toward safety. The long awaited 4th edition has been revised and grown 28% in content.

Aluminium Times
09/01/2016
Why Everyone Needs Safety Training

The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog's intention is not to place blame on either company nor worker(s), but the hope that awareness of these accidents brings education and prevention of recurrence.

Aluminium Times
07/01/2016
Entering a site with forklifs?

Achieving safe forklift operations require both adherence to procedures and awareness of risks not only for drivers, but for all those present around the plant premises.

Aluminium Times
01/01/2016
Your life is in the mirror

Sometimes workers are faced with decisions that impact their safety. Too many workers fail to realize the importance that their lives have upon others. All they have to do is look in the mirror and the tough decisions are made for them.

Aluminium Times Magazine
11/01/2015
Permit competence and not negligence in confined spaces

Some in our industry fail to properly classify what is or is not a confined space and subsequently a permit space, which places their worker(s), or the lives of contractors in jeopardy. I

Aluminium Times Magazine
09/01/2015
Be aware of false safety beliefs

Older machinery and equipment in plants are hidden hazards that regularly kill and injure workers.

Aluminium Times Magazine
07/01/2015
We can learn from past incidents

It is easy for companies to forget about past incidents, especially if the incidents have not repeated recently or if there is a change in management or ownership. This false sense of security is a trap we need to be wary of, because the original hazard still exists in our plants, and it has not been eliminated

TMS 2015 - Light Metal Age
05/01/2015
Truths & Falsehoods on Molten Metal Explosions

Hess & Brondyke's studies of molten metal explosions proved molten aluminium could explode upon contact with moisture and various substrates. Over forty years later, their findings have been mostly forgotten. This paper will review their studies.

Aluminium Times Magazine
01/01/2015
Near miss? Report it!

It is only after an incident that companies realise that a prior near miss had never been reported. Time and time again companies realise too late that near miss reporting and investigations can prevent future incidents from occurring by providing valuable information about hazards.

Aluminium Times Magazine
09/01/2014
Kunshan tragedy must affect us all

accident. On 2 August 2014, an accident occurred in China that shocked our industry and renewed the spotlight on the hazard of aluminium dust fines.

Aluminium Times Magazine
07/01/2014
Get to know your local emergency team

Does your emergency management plan include instructions regarding local emergency management personnel onsite responding to incidents that vary according to the hazard being dealt with?

Aluminium Times Magazine
04/01/2014
Is social media friend or foe?

Social media's explosion has tremendously affected today’s culture. Facebook is part of most people’s web lives, many people read Twitter for breaking news and turn to YouTube to be entertained. The future of social media for the aluminium industry is limitless.

Aluminium Times
09/01/2013
Coatings Work Should Never Be Forgotten

Molten metal water explosions have historically had the greatest negative impact to the Aluminium Industry. Prevention may be achieved if an approved protective coating is applied correctly to all key surfaces.

Aluminium Times
07/01/2013
Four ways improve contractor safety

Over the past year, several contractor employees were injured or killed while working in aluminium plants. The use of contractors used to be a rare occurrence in our industry. The presence of contractor employees in our facilities has grown exponentially during the past 15 years.

Aluminium Times
04/01/2013
Controlling Hazardous Energy Saves Injuries & Lives

The unexpected startup or release of hazardous energy during maintenance and servicing of equipment and machinery has injured and killed numerous workers in the aluminium industry.

Aluminium Times
01/01/2013
Safety can never be compromised

2012 was a year of extremes in terms of safety throughout the aluminium industry. Two firms in particular, Novelis and Alcoa, stood out as shining examples of what every company in our industry should strive to be like.

Aluminium International Today
12/01/2012
Good surface preparation can save lives – and money

Approximately 85% of all premature coating failures are a result of poor surface preparation, inadequate mixing, thinning, poor coating application, and/or insufficient curing.

Aluminium Times
09/01/2012
Pay Attention to Housekeeping and Maintance

General housekeeping and maintenance activities affect all plant workers. When performed effectively, they help eliminate some workplace hazards. On the other hand, poor housekeeping frequently masks hazards contributing to accidents.

Aluminium Times
07/01/2012
Aluminium dust can be hazardous

Considering the age of our industry, combustible dust has only been identified as a hazard for a short period of time, basically the past 25 years. Aluminium fines were considered a nuisance byproduct before being labelled as a hazard. Aluminium fines were allowed to accumulate throughout aluminium plants.

Aluminium International Today
06/01/2012
Aluminium industry can learn from Deepwater oil rig disaster

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 resulted in the deaths of 11 workers. Aluminium plants, just as deepwater oil rigs, value training and safety measures to prevent accidents from occurring. Could the safety measures employed in a casthouse to prevent a molten metal steam explosion also fail?

Aluminium Times
04/02/2012
Safety Be safe in the aluminium works

Safety is in the forefront of the aluminium industry today. This has not always been the case. The mindset changed just over 60 years ago, when the first reported molten metal explosion from a bleedout during direct chill casting in a cast house was reported.

Interviews

Aluminium International Today
09/01/2019
Making Safety A Priority

This is the fifth interview of a CEO in the aluminium industry. I interviewed Abdulla Jassem bin Kalban, CEO of EGA and Salman Abdulla safety manager at EGA.

Aluminium International Today
12/01/2017
Making Safety A Priorty

Interview with Egil Hogna, Executive Vice President of Extruded Solutions Division, Norsk Hydro

Aluminium International Today
05/01/2015
Interview with Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C.'s Tim Murray

This is the second in a series of CEO interviews focus on safety related topics to explore the impact CEO's have promoting safety within and outside their own organizations.

Aluminium International Today
10/01/2014
Interview with Sapa Group's Svein Tore Holsether

This is the first in a series of CEO interviews focus on safety related topics to explore the impact CEO's have promoting safety within and outside their own organizations.

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