Facts: Health & Safety

As the aluminium industry continues to grow, its success not only depends on productivity but also on prioritising health and safety.

Working in aluminium comes with risk: physical hazards, occupational health concerns, workforce wellbeing, and high-risk processes mean robust health and safety systems should be the bedrock of the industry, showing a fundamental commitment to a resilient, thriving, and safe workforce.

The aluminium industry is leveraging cutting-edge innovations to revolutionise health and safety practices. From implementing intelligent sensors and automation to real-time monitoring and predictive analytics, these technologies mitigate risks and proactively enhance workplace safety.


Whether operating industrial tools, working with high-voltage equipment, or handling molten metal, aluminium production can create hazardous environments. The consequences of not following good practices in these conditions can be fatal.

So, to drive continual improvement, the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) collects comprehensive benchmarking data on safety performance across the global aluminium sector and shares the results within the industry.

In common with many other manufacturing sectors, the aluminium industry has significantly improved injury rates over the past 15 years. The IAI’s accident rate data for 2000-2022 shows a very sharp decline in total recordable accident rate per MHW, down from 22 to 3.4. In the same 22 years, the rates of lost time accidents per MHW – incidents that result in the injured person being absent for one or more working days – has reduced from 5 to 1.2.

Besides technological advances, this positive development is driven by practice-oriented training and qualification measures that identify hazards and assess and control risks.

Occupational health

The health and safety focus for the primary aluminium industry is on minimising worker exposure to physical and chemical hazards. This means managing exposure to chemicals, heat, noise, dust, and magnetic fields or radiation, areas which have improved drastically since the turn of the century.

In recent surveys of its membership, the IAI found that 99% had employee exposure assessment and medical surveillance programmes in place. In addition, more than 95% of operating locations had EHS management systems in place, 94% having achieved ISO 14000 certification, and 46% with OHSAS 18000 certification.  

As well as physical health, mental health is also increasingly prioritised, which you can read about here.

Public health

Because aluminium is the most abundant metallic element on the planet, it is naturally present in most foods and drinking water.

In 2011, the World Health Organization established a provisional tolerable weekly intake of 2mg of aluminium/kg body weight. While studies differ slightly on this, it is believed aluminium is present in the human diet at a daily rate of generally less than 15mg.

 Global Health Director
Alcoa Corporation

“Managing health and safety risks is paramount at all steps in the aluminium production process.”