Metal-Refining Furnace Worker

salary graphic



education graphic


High school preferred +

job outlook graphic



What They Do

Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Career Video

Operates or tends furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces, to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Regulates supplies of fuel and air, or controls flow of electric current and water coolant to heat furnaces and adjust temperatures.
  • Draws smelted metal samples from furnaces or kettles for analysis, and calculates types and amounts of materials needed to ensure that materials meet specifications.
  • Weighs materials to be charged into furnaces, using scales.
  • Records production data, and maintains production logs.
  • Observes air and temperature gauges or metal color and fluidity, and turns fuel valves or adjusts controls to maintain required temperatures.
  • Operates controls to move or discharge metal workpieces from furnaces.
  • Inspects furnaces and equipment to locate defects and wear.
  • Drains, transfers, or removes molten metal from furnaces, and places it into molds, using hoists, pumps, or ladles.
  • Kindles fires, and shovels fuel and other materials into furnaces or onto conveyors by hand, with hoists, or by directing crane operators.
  • Prepares material to load into furnaces, including cleaning, crushing, or applying chemicals, by using crushing machines, shovels, rakes, or sprayers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing objects clearly in glaring conditions or bright lighting
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Seasonal work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Arc / Argon Oxygen Decarborization Melter (ARC / AOD Melter)
  • Automatic Furnace Operator
  • Central Melt Specialist
  • Control Room Operator
  • Direct Casting Operator
  • Electric Melt Operator
  • Melt Room Operator
  • Melt Supervisor
  • Utility Person
  • Vessel Operator