If one does foundry work, one has to do a bit of research, and get some safety gear.
I have noticed that some of the Indian/Pakistan/Asian foundries have folks who pour iron while barefooted, and often with no safety gear.
While pouring iron barefooted is probably not a great idea, it does go to show that pouring iron is not really as dangerous as folks sometimes make it.
People look at my videos, and ask "Where is my fire extinguisher?".
I tell them I am not sure, but fire is not one of my major concerns, but rather avoiding contact with molten meltal, or getting molten metal spashed back on me.
I have read that zinc fumes will give you flue-like symptoms, but are not super toxic (check me on that).
The way I see it, eye protection is really #1.
With iron, the infrared radiation from the crucible and furnace will quickly sunburn your eyes, and I noticed that my eyes felt like they had sand in them after the first few iron pours when I did not wear shaded glasses. The IR without shaded glasses will eventually cause cataracts.
Safety item #2 is to not inhale toxic vapors, sand particles, or refractory particles.
As far as I am concerned, anything beyond items #1 and 2 are gravy, and are more of a comfort thing, such as leather gloves, heat shields, etc.
I did get molten steel down inside some lace-up boots one time (using a cutting torch), and one cannot unlace and get a boot off fast enough when that happens.
I guess critical safety item #3 is to not wear anything synthetic, ie: plastic/polyester/nylon, etc.
I wear all leathers, with full leather boots (no laces).
It is actually much safer in my opinion to wear no shoes when pouring metal than wearing nylon tennis shoes.
So I do sort of cringe when I see safety Items #1, 2 and 3 not followed, but beyond that folks in other countries seem to do pretty well with minimal safety gear.
This guy shows that momentary contact with molten iron is not the fatal thing many would tell you about.
I have also personally experience having to strap on so much safety gear (on a jobsite) that my vision is impaired, the equipment is heavy and awkward, my balance is affected, and I am actually in a far more dangerous situation when I have to wear fully mandated safety gear.
So the safety gear itself can become unsafe sometimes if it is applied without common sense.
Understanding the important aspects of safety, and keeping a keen eye on your surroundings (situational awareness) is more important than most safety gear. Don't neglect items #1, 2 and 3 above though; those are needed as a minimum if you do foundry work.