Metal casting is one of the backbones of manufacturing in the U.S., providing jobs to nearly 490,000 workers. The parts produced by workers in metal casting foundries are found in all sorts of products, including automobiles, trains, trucks, medical devices, appliances, and toys. About 90 percent of the world’s durable goods include component parts that were made using metal castings.
However, workers in metal casting foundries face many hazards on the job. They are often unfairly blamed for causing accidents due to their own carelessness. However, studies have shown that defective tools, machinery and equipment, and processes cause many metal casting accidents.
Metal casting is a multi-step process that involves pouring molten metal into a die or mold to create the desired shape. After pouring the molten metal, the process typically includes steps for sand handling, cooling, shakeout, cleaning, and finishing.
There are more than 1,700 metal casting facilities in the U.S. today. Many of these facilities are small businesses employing less than 100 people. The metal casting industry continues to grow in part because energy efficiency and emissions requirements in the auto industry call for new types of lightweight castings. Ensuring safety in metal casting is important.
There are many different types of jobs in any given foundry, including core makers, molder, electricians, and other workers involved in pouring, cleaning, and finishing the metal casting. Many hazards in metal casting are specific to the job of the worker.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the hazards of metal casting jobs may include but are not limited to the following:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, the incidence rate of nonfatal injuries was 6.4 for every 100 foundry workers who worked full-time. The incidence rate in steel foundries was 9.7 percent, which was the highest for metal casting foundries. While many of these injuries result from accidents, long-term exposure to hazards can result in debilitating, chronic conditions as well.
The types of injuries common in metal casting foundries include the following:
Respiratory problems, including silicosis and lung cancer, are among the most common types of health problems found in metal casting foundries. Eye injuries are also common because of the abrasive processes used for cleaning and finishing castings. Injuries from strain or overexertion also happen more frequently in metal casting jobs compared to other areas of manufacturing.
While progress has been made regarding the safety of foundry workers, the basic process of casting metal has remained the same for more than a thousand years. It is important but dangerous work, and the risk of accident is high.
Workers are often blamed for metal casting accidents. However, research has shown that accidents are often the result of the safety of the work environment as well as defective tools or equipment. Some of these factors include but are not limited to the following:
Assuming that workers are always to blame for accidents allows those who are responsible to avoid liability. That is one reason why it is so important for injured workers to reach out to a qualified lawyer who has experience uncovering the true cause of work-related accidents.
Workers injured in a metal casting accident should seek medical attention immediately. They must also give formal notice to their employers about their accident and file paperwork in order to obtain Workers’ Compensation. This can be difficult, especially if their injuries are devastating. Injured employees can make the process easier by contacting a lawyer to help them with the paperwork and provide legal advice regarding their rights. In addition to Workers’ Compensation, other sources of financial recovery may be available if the accident was caused by defective tools or machinery, including equipment manufacturers and distributors.
Galfand Berger LLP has a long tradition of advocating for injured workers in all types of industries. We have obtained a number of multi-million-dollar settlements on behalf of our clients and their families, including the following:
All too often, workers are blamed for accidents. Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment. Likewise, manufacturers are responsible for providing equipment that includes safety features that can prevent accidents and injuries. A qualified lawyer can help a worker understand their rights and true cause of the accident that caused them devasting harm.
If you have been seriously harmed in any type of work-related accident, make sure your rights are protected and that you explore all of your legal options. Our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can determine if a third party is responsible for your work injury. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or complete our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg, from our offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania.