Every year taller buildings are being constructed – iron workers face a more dangerous job than ever.
Modern building constructions are touching the skies. With taller and larger-than-life structures constructed every year, iron workers face a more dangerous job and a higher risk for injury or even death. In 2010, there were about 59,800 iron-and-steel jobs in the U.S., of which 85% were in the construction industry itself.
The Duties of an Iron Worker
Iron workers are involved in the installation of steel or iron beams, columns, and girders that provide structural support of bridges, buildings, and other structures. Their duties include:
- Cutting and bending steel for construction.
- Connecting structures using bolts and welding.
- Aligning and positioning of columns, beams, and girders as they are hoisted into place.
Iron workers often work as crane operators or instruct operators about correct placement.
Fourth Most Dangerous Job
Iron workers have an extremely high-risk job – welding hazards, heavy lifting, and fall risks. Because of physically and mentally demanding duties, the ironworking industry consistently ranks in the top 10 for various work-related injuries. In 2008, iron work was ranked as the fourth most dangerous job in the U.S. with a fatality rate of 46.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees.
- Iron workers are the most susceptible to fall-related death. Workers must balance themselves on narrow beams that are placed high above the ground.
- Iron workers have an increased risk of cancer than any other occupation. A study involving 13,000 iron workers over a period of seven years showed much higher instances of mesothelioma and lung cancer compared to the rest of the U.S. population.
- Iron workers are regularly exposed to welding fumes and radiation that can have severe, long-term effects on a workers heath.
- Iron workers are also more at risk for injury because of heavy lifting and exertion-related problems such as musculoskeletal disorders and back injuries, such as tendonitis, ruptured discs, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Iron workers have ranked third for non-fatal injuries – 392.7 injuries per 10,000 workers per year.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Considering there is a high potential for injury, iron workers should have correct knowledge of their workers’ compensation benefits and procedures. If you are an iron worker and are a victim of a work-related accident, contact a St. Louis workers compensation attorney. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.