Health Hazards at Austal - What You Should Know

There are safety and health hazards from Aluminum welding fumes and dust that you need to be aware of. Legally, Austal is obligated to tell you what hazards you are exposed to and take measures to protect against them. But they haven’t.

The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a document prepared by a manufacturer to let employers and employees know the potential hazards of their product. Employers have to give employees access to these sheets. The SDS on the Aluminum you work with at Austal (Alcoa), lists these hazards, among others:

Alcoa1 Alcoa2

To see the entire Safety Data Sheet on the aluminum you work with, click here to download the PDF. You can also view it online on Alcoa’s website.

 Welding Fumes & Dust Hazards

As you can see, working with this aluminum raises some alarming health concerns. When heated during welding, the aluminum releases Chromium VI (Click here for more information on Chromium), Manganese, and Silicon. As you can see on the SDS above, Alcoa lists pulmonary fibrosis, central nervous system damage, secondary Parkinson’s, and reproductive harm in males as potential effects. At high temperatures, they list pulmonary edema, lung disease, and lung cancer. Aluminum is NOT the same as steel and other metals – there are very specific health hazards that Austal was required to inform you of – they didn’t. Your exposure might pose a risk to your health, or it may not. It is Austal’s responsibility to test exposure levels and minimize these risks. To our knowledge, they haven’t done the testing required.

Here are Safety Data Sheets for other products you work with:

Click here to download the PDF for Aluminum Welding wire.

Click here to download the PDF for Argon gas.

Click here to download the PDF for MIG Welding wire.

Getting Help for Health Effects

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a work-related condition:

  • Headaches on a regular basis
  • Nosebleeds
  • Respiratory illness/cough/flu-like symptoms
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness in hands, feet, arms, legs
  • Numbness in hands, feet, arms, legs
  • Pain in hands, feet, arms, legs, or other joints
  • Involuntary shaking of hands, feet, arms, legs
  • Skin irritation

The Mobile Metal Trades can provide free legal representation to you. Austal, just like any maritime employer, has certain responsibilities to pay for your medical expenses and compensate you under the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Act.

Please call 251-434-8254 if you have experienced any of these symptoms after working at Austal.  If you would like us to contact you to answer your questions about your symptoms, please complete the survey below:

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