Steel material and fabrication tools are essential in construction, and so are safety procedures concerning the use of these tools. While efficiency and the construction schedule should always be a high priority, safety should still be at the top.
Professional or not, anyone using steel material and fabrication tools is at risk because even the best can make mistakes. Steel material and fabrication tools are dangerous things, and you need to respect your own capacity and promote safety by following general equipment and safety principles.
In this article, you can learn about five safety tips when working with steel and pipes.
What are the Safety Tips for working with Steel and Pipes?
Following are the safety tips to work with the steel and pipes:
1) Always do a serious inspection
Even with all the care, it’ll be hard to protect yourself against malfunctioning equipment. Before starting a construction project, never forget this step. Make sure that all your tools and materials are checked for damage and malfunctioning.
It’s important because some damages are too small and might still allow the tools to work normally, but only to break while in use and put the person using it at risk.
With most steel and metal fabrication tools being hand-operated tools with sharp edges, the slightest equipment malfunction can be very dangerous. During an inspection, here are some things you should remember:
- All workers must be competent, trained, and certified for handling equipment and as part of the project
- When lifting steel, always use plate clamps
- When using cranes, they need to be placed directly above the load to prevent the hook from swinging.
- Pipe storage racking and shelving systems need to be cross-braced to make them more stable and to prevent collapse
- Stored metals can easily fall, roll, and slip down, but you can avoid this by storing and restraining metals.
2) Provide proper training and teach safety guidelines
The people handling material and equipment need to be competent and knowledgeable, as well. When you know how to do your job, understand the dangers, and know your equipment, you’re less likely to be involved in dangerous scenarios.
It’s why your employees need to learn the value of attention and focus. In large projects or construction sites, workers push and pull metal sheets into and from machines. It’s hard work, as the sheets are heavy, but with training, workers will know to take care and mind their actions to keep themselves and other workers safe.
Here are some things that you need to teach your workers:
- The chains should be firmly tied down to secure the load upon transport.
- When dealing with coil steel, remember that coil steel should be moved in cradles as big as a large-diameter steel pipe.
- Keep large steel pipes flat and choked in cradle rocks.
- Before unloading your steel material, always make sure that the transport vehicle is on even ground. Never park it on a slope, as this may risk the materials rolling off.
- To understand the dangers, your workers need to know and understand the weight of the tools and materials they are using.
3) Wearing safety gear
Steel and metal fabrication tools can be quite dangerous. So, once you’re on-site, make sure that you and your team are wearing hard hats, goggles, gloves, safety shoes, and other safety gear that you deem necessary for their work. Also, make sure that you have support for your back and neck all the time, as they can be injured while working.
You also need to have regular tetanus shots to protect yourself against tetanus, a medical condition that occurs when tetani bacteria, found in steel and metal, get into the bloodstream.
4) Performing precautionary measures
It’s always best when you can stop problems before they happen using precautionary measures. It includes using the correct handling equipment and techniques.
- Steel is delivered on flatbed trucks. To prevent your team from injury, make sure that the trucks have headboard racks to protect your crew from loose material.
- When unloading pipe or coil steel, you need to leave the stanchion pins in place and loosen the binders slowly and one at a time, but don’t remove them until you have loosened all binding chains and you’re sure that the load is stable.
- Transport trucks need a catwalk with grab rails between the cab and headboard for a safe vantage point during loading and unloading.
- Make sure stanchion pins in the rail-post pockets to prevent the load from moving laterally.
- To prevent your material from falling off or rolling down, store round car, pipe, and steel coil in racks if they need to be inclined.
5) Use stacking and storage
Steel pipes need to be stacked in storage racks when in storage. They are heavy, and since they always touch during transportation and while being stacked, any contact can cause damage to the pipes. It puts your metal at risk of contaminants, corrosion, and extreme temperatures.
- Storage racks – Your pipe storage racking needs to be designed in the correct size for it to support the pipes safely.
- Bumper rings – Always use bumper rings to prevent the material from hitting and damaging each other.
- Pipe chocks – Place pipe chocks in multiple locations along the pipe to keep the stacks in place and more stable. If you use a rack that doesn’t store each pipe individually, it’s important to use pipe chocks.
Always, always safety first
Ensuring your employees and your safety when using steel material and fabrication tools is important to do your work quickly, effectively, and safely. For better safety when working with steel material, pipe storage racking will do wonders for you.