If you have been shelving your plans of starting a small-scale steel erection company, now is the time to fast-track those plans. The Australian construction industry is growing, and there is increased demand for steel erectors. Once you get started though, you need to familiarise yourself with safety precautions when erecting steel over water bodies. The reason is that steel erection over water bodies is relatively more dangerous compared to dry-land steel erection. This article highlights some safety precautions in this regard.
Connect Equipment to Lines — When welding steel at heights on dry land, the only worry workers face is equipment damage or injuries from falling equipment. However, erecting steel over a water body offers a different proposition. The likelihood of electric shocks from falling steel erection equipment such as drills and welding machines is real. To avoid accidents, make sure that equipment is always tied to a line so that when a worker loses grip, the tool does not fall into the water below. Also, ensure that the equipment cables are not too long such that tools dangle just above the water.
Provide Buoyancy Aids — Equipment and workers are susceptible to falling into the water during erection of steel structures. While staffs require safety harnesses when working at heights, accidents do not necessarily take place at elevations, for instance, a worker could be on the lowest steel platform and still slip into the water. Therefore, it is imperative to provide buoyancy aids in the form of life jackets. The buoyancy gear must be approved by OSHA to guarantee the safety of employees.
Insist on No Lone Workers — When erecting steel over a water body, it is a requirement that there be no less than two workers at a time on the worksite. Failure to comply with the requirement will open you up to legal battles with OSHA. Having at least two workers on a site ensures that one can help the other by getting assistance or even cutting the power source to prevent electric shock.
Confirm Column Stability Before Removing Guy Lines — Guy lines provide stability to single steel columns before additional framing is incorporated. For worksites in water bodies, the need for guy lines is more critical because of water movement. However, you need to make sure that workers inspect the stability of steel columns before releasing guy lines. The reason is that water waves exert an external force on already erected columns, which can lead to loss of stability. Therefore, if workers fail to inspect the balance of columns, then they risk joining steel framing onto misaligned columns.