Much of a town flattened. Entire neighborhoods reduced to piles of debris. Hundreds injured. More than two dozen killed. It’s a grim reminder that the confluence of weather systems in the central U.S., specifically masses of cold, dry air from the north and fronts of warm, moist air from the south, don’t mix well. Kansas has the unfortunate distinction of the most reported tornadoes per square mile; Oklahoma is second. In any given year, Texas usually has the most tornadoes. (more...)
Archive for the ‘Safety Sense’ Category
By: Dan Davis
Metal fabricating companies that seek to provide the safest work environments for their employees might be interested to know that the job might get a little harder in the welding department. The leading industrial health and safety organization that regularly issues guidance for certain toxic compounds is recommending a dramatic reduction in manganese fume exposure.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has recommended a 10-fold reduction in the time weighted average (over eight hours) threshold limit value for respirable manganese particulate. The association reduced the TLV-TWA limit of 0.2 mg/m3 to 0.02 mg/m3. In other words, a person should not breathe in more than 0.02 mg/m3 of manganese over an eight-hour work period. (more...)
By: Vicki Bell
Had an interesting phone call this week. A welder who’s been plying his trade for 18 years called to talk about some job-related health concerns he has. He called me because of an article I wrote eight years ago: “Welding fume health hazards.” Since the article was written, various class-action lawsuits against consumable manufacturers have wound their way through the courts, most of which have been resolved in favor of the defendants. Also since then, several welders, like the one who called this week, have shared their concerns with me. In each case, I have told the welders that I am not a doctor, and they should schedule appointments with their physicians to discuss their concerns. Each time, I have listened to their concerns and worried about them long after the call ended.
This call was a little different than the others. Where others simply had described various ailments they felt might be attributed to their occupation, Chet (not his real name) mentioned something none of the others described. (more...)
By: Vicki Bell
Tuesday was the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The September "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter that went out that day described the safety elements that went into the design of the new One World Trade Center building. It also made special note of the welding aspect of the structure—how the welders are undoubtedly mindful of the serious nature of their work and are doing their best to ensure that the welds are sound, just as they do on bridges and other critical structures—every day. (more...)
By: Tim Heston
Just in time for election season (which, as a multiyear event now, is far longer than a season), a few advocacy groups are putting forth their views about what U.S. manufacturing needs. One of the most concise reports comes from the Georgia Tech and Council on Competitiveness, which released its report last week. Boiled down, the report says U.S. manufacturing needs improved infrastructure, simpler taxation and regulations, more skilled talent, and a focused industrial policy.
Many of those policies hit home for the nation’s larger manufacturers, and they’re indirectly important for the contract metal fabricators and other smaller companies that supply those OEMs. But skilled labor hits home for everybody.
By: Dan Davis
In a day when class action lawsuits centering on such things as asbestos, concussion injuries, or tobacco seem to be in the news quite often, don't expect to be reading about suits targeting welding rod manufacturers. Attorneys targeting those welding consumable manufacturers appear to have given up.
That point of view comes from Michael Degan, who works with the Gas and Welding Distributors Association and is a partner with the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP. "… [R]umors have been floating that the steering committee for plaintiffs [in these suits against welding companies] has been negotiating a proposal to terminate all currently pending welding fume cases. Such an agreement would effectively end welding fume litigation as a mass tort," Degan wrote. You can read the synopsis here. (more...)
By: Dan Davis
Manufacturing is a matter of life and death.
Ask company owners what that statement means, and they might reply that every strong country needs a robust manufacturing sector. Ask manufacturing workers the same question, and they will tell you it's about their ability to go home safely to their families. They know the everyday risks because they live with them each and every workday.
The hazards? Watch out for the heavy weldment being hoisted over your head. Listen up for the lift truck whizzing by with the pallet of parts that haven't been secured tightly. Check to see if that press brake is shut down before performing routine maintenance. In summary, keep your head on a swivel and be aware at all times, because a metals manufacturing environment can be a dangerous place. (more...)
By: Eric Lundin
The story is a heartbreaker. Two teenagers, 14-year-old girls on the threshold of attending high school, were detasseling corn on a farm in northwestern Illinois when they were electrocuted after coming into contact with an irrigator.
Detasseling is practically a rite of passage where corn is grown. I spent a summer detasseling, as did most of my friends. It’s not for everyone—the days are long, hot, and tiring, and the pay isn’t very good. The upside is that it isn’t all that dangerous. When a parent sees a child off in the morning, he expects that child will return that afternoon. (more...)