Sheet metal workers held about 141,000 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most sheet metal workers were as follows:
Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors
Architectural and structural metals manufacturing
Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors
Sheet metal fabricators usually work in small shops and manufacturing plants, where they must often lift heavy materials and stand for long periods of time.
Workers who install sheet metal at construction sites must bend, climb, and squat, sometimes in close quarters, in awkward positions, or at great heights. Sheet metal installers who work outdoors are exposed to all types of weather.
Injuries and Illnesses
Sheet metal workers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Common injuries include cuts from sharp metal, burns from soldering or welding, and falls from ladders or scaffolds.
Some sheet metal fabricators work around high-speed machines, which can be dangerous. Because of these hazards, workers must often wear safety glasses and must not wear jewelry or loose-fitting clothing that could easily get caught in a machine. To avoid repetitive strain injuries, sheet metal workers may rotate through different production stations.
The vast majority of sheet metal workers are employed full time.