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Site Safety – How to Move and Handle Structural Steel

Is it fair to say that the average building site is nothing less than a wall to wall minefield of hazards and potential dangers to the workforce? Indeed it is, but technically speaking there’s no reason why any kind of construction environment really needs to be any more dangerous than any other working environment. The reason being that it all comes down to the way in which the site is managed and how the workforce as a whole works as a team to keep tabs on health and safety. When and where health and safety considerations are overlooked or ignored, it is of course inevitable that things will become infinitely more dangerous. By contrast, if health and safety remains a key concern for the entire work force – as it very well should – the overwhelming majority of accidents and dangerous incidents on building sites could be avoided entirely.


So with this in mind, what follows is a brief introduction to just a few of the most important tips for those investing in cheap RSJs in Essex for any building project and looking to handle their assets safely and responsibly:

Manual Handling

First and foremost, if you find yourself presented with a gigantic length of steel the likes of which weighs more than you and most of your car combined, common sense should tell you that manual handling/lifting is far from a good idea. And just to clarify this also applies to those who may be thinking of combining efforts with other members of the workforce to lift, move and handle something that is clearly way too heavy for human hands to deal with. If you are working in an environment where RSJs are used, it goes without saying that there will be plenty of specialist equipment around for moving it and handling it…so use it.

The Right Equipment

Following on from the above point, there will be certain equipment and machinery around the building site that has been designed specifically for the purposes of moving and handling these kinds of building supplies. So once again, common sense should tell you that these are the machines and gadgets that you should be using exclusively when and where you need to move RSJs around. The simple fact of the matter is that just because there are other machines and devices around which technically speaking could be used to handle them, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Try to remember that everything you come across was designed with a purpose in mind – it’s never a good idea to ignore this fact.

Load Limits

If and when you do make the decision to use the correct equipment for moving and handling RSJs, it’s of crucial importance to acknowledge the fact that every bit of machinery across the construction site has its own specific limits with regard to what it can handle. Once again, it often ends up being a case of certain members of the workforce making the assumption that if some sort of lifter has a limit of 500 kg, chances are it will be absolutely fine it if you load it up with 525 kg. Unfortunately, this often turns out not to be the case as the line between safe operation and a serious health hazard is fine to say the least. And as you never know when and where you may find yourself breaching this line, it’s a better idea not take the risk in the first place.

Certification and Training

Also on the subject of machinery and equipment for handling heavy steel beams, it’s important not to just fall into the assumption that you will be able to use the machinery competently and safely without specific training and certification. If for example it is necessary to use a telescopic handler to get the steel beams where they need to be, this is the perfect illustration of a piece of machinery that requires very specialised skills and experience. Or to put it another way, it isn’t quite as easy as driving a car – as is the assumption of so many. If you are not fully trained and experienced, you shouldn’t be going near such machinery until you are.

Signs of Damage

Last but not least, it is of genuinely critical importance that anyone working with heavy steel supplies like these be on the permanent lookout for any signs of damage or wear by way of both the beams themselves and the machinery. The simple fact of the matter is that when you are working with anything heavy and cumbersome, it is imperative that no risks be taken with things like structural integrity, quality and so on.

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