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Falls account for 19% of all construction fatalities and they are a major hazard during steel erection. Each constructor must have an effective fall prevention program to provide their workers with protection. Some potential fall areas to look out for include falls from the structure to the ground, falls from one level to another, falls from ladders, scaffolds, and falls from aerial lifts.

Falling objects present another hazard during steel erection. Safeguards include guardrails and toe boards, securing bolt cans, using catch platforms, barricading areas below work areas, securing ladders, and hanging nets, both personnel and debris types. Additional Safeguards include the strict use of proper personal protective equipment. Many employers are requiring the use of 100% fail protection and full body harnesses. This is a change from the way steel used to be erected, but it's a fact that tying off prevents many injuries and deaths.

Another area to watch out for during steel erection is material handling. Sharp edges cause cut and lacerations. Moving steel beams provides an opportunity for pinch points or being caught between two heavy objects. Check your surrounding area for overhead power lines; crane booms and load lines don't mix with electrical lines. The crane superstructure swing radius needs to be barricaded to prevent anyone from coming in contact with the counter weight, or being crushed between the cab and crane chassis.

Requirements in OSHA Standard 1926-750 (b)(2)(i) are as follows: Where skeleton steel erection is being done, a tightly planked and substantial floor shall be maintained within two stories or 25 feet, whichever is less, below and directly under that portion of each tier of beams on which any work is being performed, except when gathering and stacking temporary floor planks on a lower floor, in preparation for transferring such planks for use on an upper floor.

Steel erection can be extremely hazardous if you don't follow the rules. Don't become a statistic.


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