First Helper

Operate open-hearth furnaces to produce specified types of steel.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$26,000 – $57,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do First Helpers do?

Operates open-hearth furnaces to produce specified types of steel: Examines raw materials for conformance to specifications. Signals CHARGING-MACHINE OPERATOR to place materials in furnace. Turns fuel, air, and steam controls to adjust fuel mixtures and draft. Moves levers to circulate gas throughout furnace to distribute heat and prevent burning out of furnace walls. Signals OVERHEAD CRANE OPERATOR 921.663-010 to pour molten metal in furnace. Obtains sample of metal, using long-handled spoon, and pours sample into test mold. Tests sample for carbon content, using carbon analyzer. Moves controls to open furnace doors, and shovels additives, such as fluorspar, lime, and alloys, into furnace to obtain specified type of steel. Determines temperature of metal, using thermocouple. Observes color of molten metal through cobalt-blue glasses to determine when to tap furnace and notifies MELTER SUPERVISOR. Directs crew in tapping furnace and adding specified additives to ladle. Records operational data on forms. Examines furnace to determine repairs needed, and directs crew in repairing furnace walls and flooring.

Should I be a First Helper?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • Also known as: Floater, Hearth Feeder, Manganese Heater, Melter Assistant, Oven Heater, Pot Filler, Retort Fireman

    How to become a First Helper

    Most First Helpers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9djaaa&chl=no+college+%2882%25%29|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%2813%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,82,82
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