Welding rod litigation status report (from the defense side)

The welding fumes battle continues. Here's the score, according to www.weldinginfonetwork.com, a website sympathetic to manufacturers in this battle (they call the welding rod litigation "ill-conceived business venture for plaintiffs’ counsel."

According to a PDF released on the group's site...
  • In recent months, plaintiffs’ counsel have dismissed thousands of their cases
  • New filings have decreased as well -- a decline of approximately 25% of welding fume claims
    pending in state and federal court, and more claims are being dismissed weekly.
  • 40% of plaintiffs were never diagnosed with any neurological condition
  • 70% of the allegedly sick claimants have never sought medical treatment
  • 10 of 11 cases tried to juries have resulted in defense verdicts (the one loss was in pro-plaintiff Madison County Illinois)
  • the federal court presiding over almost half of the welding claims pending
    in the U.S. (the MDL court) has established a case administration plan to re-evaluate all
    of the pending federal cases
  • Six recent studies have confirmed that welders are not at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonism, manganism, or other, similar movement disorders.
Take this as you will, it is factual as best I can tell, but obviously biased in one direction.


Welding Defects - How to Prevent Them!

Pulled this from our friends over at Rodovens.com.

There are welding defects that are sometimes overlooked or not considered. Each welding project requires careful considerations. They include:

  • The process, the type of welding i.e. stick, MIG, TIG.
  • The composition of the base metal and thickness.
  • The welding position, i. e. flat, vertical, horizontal, overhead.
  • The weld joint and type.
  • Electrical supply and equipment.
  • And finally, the welding techniques to be used.

  • To minimize the chance of welding defects be sure to consider 1) the travel speed of the pass; 2) the size and type electrode; 3) machine settings; 4) make sure the welding is done in accordance with the plan and the current conditions.

    Read the rest here...


    Steel prices on the rise, welders feel the pinch

    According to the Oxford, MS Sun Herald, steel prices are set to rise for the next few months. The paper says that "Stock market investors are speculating that mills may institute a $10 to $30 per ton price increase this month, according to the online business-news service briefing.com. In the Gulf Coast region, the demand is high for the building material because of back-to-back busy hurricane seasons."

    Steel is vital because it's a key building material for casino resorts, bridges, high-rise condominiums and concrete houses.

    For welders, fabrication shops and metalworkers - not to mention the companies that hire them - this is a significant issue. Rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina (and the busy preceding hurricane season), low inventories, and global demand are driving supplies down and prices up. It's going to cost more to build things, and that will affect how many projects are available to welders and fabricators.

    We'll keep an eye on it...


    One problem with building new nuclear plants? Lack of qualified welders...

    According to a recent story in the Arizona Daily Star, as the nuclear industry stirs with the first plans in 30 years to build new power plants in the United States, there's an unexpected hurdle to be overcome: There may not be enough nuclear engineers around anymore to build and run them.

    And that goes for highly specialized craftsmen -- like welders.

    According to the Star article, David Lochbaum, director for nuclear-safety projects at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said it's not just the lack of experienced engineers, but other specialists who will be required to build the plants.

    "When you move beyond the blueprint, it requires welders and pipe fitters and others with specialized knowledge," he said.