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How to Safely Erect Structural Steelwork? [PDF]

How to Safely Erect Structural Steelwork? [PDF]


The purpose of following safety precautions while working with structural steel is to mitigate health and safety risks for all workers associated with the erection of steel structures.

Safety at structural steel site.
Safety at structural steel site.

Safety for Men

  1. The men assigned for the job should undergo a health check-up and the supervisor should make sure that they are skilled in their jobs.
  2. The safety helmets and goggles shall be worn properly and at all times during the works, such as drilling, cutting, and welding.
  3. The gas cutters and welders shall be equipped with proper protective equipment like gloves, safety boots, aprons, and hand shields. 
  4. During the work, the area must be cordoned off by barricades to prevent persons from falling into excavated trenches or hitting against structural components or getting injured by falling objects. 
  5. The warning signs shall be displayed where necessary to indicate hazards, for example-
    • 440 VOLTS
    • DO NOT SMOKE
    • MEN WORKING AHEAD, etc. 
  6. Handlamps used shall be of low voltage, preferably 24V to avoid electrical hazards.
  7. All electrically operated hand tools must be provided with double earthing.
  8. When a large number of trusses or girders are loaded in a truck and are to be unloaded one by one, the remaining members shall be tied until the lifted member is unloaded.
  9. The erection workers shall have an adequate supply of bolts, rivets, washers, pins, etc. of the required size.
  10. Minimum of 2 number of bolts shall be used in connecting each piece to ensure that the joint must not fail due to erection load and dead loads. 
  11. All connections in crane girders, columns, etc. shall be bolted entirely or riveted or welded as specified in the drawing before erection.
  12. Girders and complicated structural members, which require special erection devices like hooks and cleats, shall be preassembled in the shop into one piece.
  13. Safety belts must always be kept available at the worksite to be used whenever required. 
  14. The rope used for the safety purpose shall be chemically treated to resist dew and rotting and shall not be tied on sharp edges of steel structures.
  15. While working a tall and heavy guy derrick, it is advisable to control tension in guys by hand winches to avoid jerks, which may cause an accident. 
  16. The proper size, number, and spacing of wire rope clamps shall be used depending on the diameter of the wire rope.
  17. To aid men working on floats or scaffolds, as well as men in erection gangs, or other gangs using small material, such as bolts and drift pins, adequate bolt baskets, or similar containers with handles of sufficient strength and attachment to carry the loaded containers shall be provided.
  18. The men should be trained to use such containers and to keep small tools gathered up and put away in toolboxes when not in use. 
  19. Material shall not be dumped overboard when a scaffold is to be moved. 
  20. Rivet heaters shall have safe containers or buckets for hot rivets over at the end of the day.
  21. During the erection of tall buildings, it is desirable to use nylon nets at the height of 3 to 4m to provide safety to men.

Safety against Fire

  1. If the work involves flame-cutting, burning, heating, riveting, or any operation that could start a fire, a fire protection procedure must be set up.
  2. The workers should be strictly instructed not to throw objects like hot rivets, cigarette stubs, etc. around. 
  3. A sufficient number of fire extinguishers of soda acid type shall be placed at designated points.
  4. Extinguishers must be placed in cranes, compressors, hoists, and similar places.
  5. In places where electrical equipment is involved, instead of soda acid type, CO2 or dry powder extinguishers shall be provided.
  6. Wire rope with broken strand shall not be used for erection work.
  7. Manila ropes or wire ropes conforming to acceptable standards shall only be used for guying.

FAQs on Safety during Structural Steel Erection

? What is the purpose of safety for structural steelwork?

The purpose of following safety precautions while working with structural steel is to mitigate health and safety risks for all workers associated with the erection of steel structures.

? What are the warning signs to be displayed at the worksite?

The warning signs to be displayed where necessary to indicate hazards are –
1. 440 VOLTS
2. DO NOT SMOKE
3. MEN WORKING AHEAD, etc.

?Which type of fire extinguishers are recommended for structural steelwork?

Generally, soda acid type fire extinguishers are recommended, but at the place of electrical equipment, CO2 or dry powder extinguishers shall be provided.

Read More:
1. What are the Safety Measures followed for Formwork installation? [PDF]
2. What is Job Safety Analysis (JSA) ? [PDF]
3. Quality and Safety Concern in Building Constructions



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