Injuries common for ironworkers

Ironworkers provide a valuable service that includes working on structural iron for roads, buildings and bridges. While there are very specific safety rules in place designed to keep them safe, this is still a highly dangerous occupation.

The fatality rate of ironworkers is rather high. Out of every 100,000 workers, 37 die. Understanding the most common dangers and injuries that this profession inspires may help employees to remain safer; however, the onus remains solely on employers to provide a safe work environment and all the safety equipment necessary.

The danger of working at heights

Ironworkers spend a significant portion of their time working at elevated heights. Because of this, falls are one of the most common and dangerous risks they face. Falls from beams, scaffolding or other structures above ground level can lead to catastrophic injuries, including those to the spine or head. Harnesses and other safety gear are critical for ironworkers to remain safe as they get the job done.

Hazards of heavy lifting and repetitive motions

The physical demands of lifting, positioning and securing heavy steel beams and columns can lead to a range of musculoskeletal injuries. Back injuries, hernias, and strains are prevalent among ironworkers due to the heavy lifting and repetitive motions required for their jobs.

Cuts, abrasions, and puncture wounds

Working with metal and power tools puts ironworkers at risk for cuts, abrasions, and puncture wounds. Sharp steel edges, welding splatters, and the use of cutting tools can cause these injuries, which may become infected if they aren’t treated properly. Personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection are crucial to minimizing these risks.

Exposure to heat and welding fumes

Ironworkers often work in environments exposed to extreme heat, especially when welding or cutting steel. This exposure can lead to heat stress, burns and heat exhaustion. The inhalation of welding fumes, which contain a variety of metal particulates and gases, can affect respiratory health. Adequate ventilation, regular breaks and the use of respirators when welding can help protect ironworkers from these hazards.

Injured ironworkers will likely need immediate medical attention. This care should be covered by workers’ compensation. In the case of catastrophic injuries, other benefits might also be available. Seeking legal assistance may be beneficial to these individuals so they can work toward getting the benefits they’re due as they focus on their healing process.

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