A fabricator joins metal pieces together to create a product or to use as pieces in other products. Working in a factory or shop setting, fabricators can incur work-related low back or neck injuries when cutting, bending or assembling the metal due to physically demanding job duties.
Working from drawings or blueprints, the processes performed by fabricators include Cutting, which is done by sawing, shearing, or chiseling; torching with hand-held torches; and via numerical control (CNC) cutters (using a laser, mill bits, torch, or water jet). Next, Bending is done by hammering (manual or powered) or via press brakes and similar tools. Modern metal fabricators use press brakes to shape sheet into form. Finally, Assembling (joining of the pieces) is done by welding, binding with adhesives, riveting, threaded fasteners, or even yet more bending in the form of a crimped seam. Structural steel and sheet metal are the usual starting materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux, and fasteners that will join the cut pieces. Both human labor and automation are commonly used. The product resulting from fabrication may be called a fabrication. Shops that specialize in this type of metal work are called fab shops. Other common types of metalworking, such as machining, metal stamping, forging, and casting, may be similar in shape and function, but those processes are not classified as fabrication.
Fabrication includes or overlaps with various metalworking specialties:
Machine shops have overlapping capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on metal preparation and assembly as described above. By comparison, machine shops also cut metal, but they are more concerned with the machining of parts on machine tools. Blacksmithing has always involved fabrication. The products produced by welders, which are often referred to as weldments, are an example of fabrication. Boilermakers, ironworkers and millwrights engage in some fabrication.
The physical demands of a fabricator vary, but it can be a heavy or very physical job which can lead to a herniated lumbar disc or herniated cervical disc. Here are some fabricator job duties representative of those leading to degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis in some cases. Fabricators must walk and stand on a frequent to constant basis; they will occasionally to frequently bend forward to the waist, squat, reach from shoulder level or overhead, kneel, crawl and climb. Lift from 50-75 lbs. from floor to waist, and up to 25 lbs. from shoulder to overhead. There is repetitive bending, twisting and turning at the waist. Push and pull from 50 to over 100 lbs.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys represent metal fabricators in workers compensation claims for low back or lumbar and neck or cervical injuries. Believe in better.