A structural iron worker plays a key role in the building of various types of buildings and bridges. This job requires a lot of physical strength and stamina as you spend most of your typical day helping to prepare and lift steel beams, girders and other heavy objects into place to frame the building structure.
The first responsibility for iron workers at most job sites is to unload trucks full of prefabricated steel, girders and other materials. As you unload, you stack the materials neatly so that it is ready for the next stage of lifting. The process of unloading and stacking takes a lot of physical strength and stamina. You also have to use good safety measures to avoid falls and dropping objects which could seriously hurt you or a co-worker.
Lifting and Placing
After all materials are stacked, the beams, girders and columns are lifted into place by using various cranes and equipment. As materials are lifted, other iron workers are positioning additional pieces. The key responsibility during this stage is to ensure that the beams and girders are properly aligned.
After all materials are in place, iron workers confirm that the steel is horizontally and vertically aligned. If it is, they begin positioning bolts to connect beams and girders, and then weld them joints. For this reason, many iron workers are also trained and certified welders. You normally get this training during an apprenticeship. Metal shears and torches are used to shape the steel as necessary. All steel beams and materials are ultimately connected and stabilized for further construction to take place.
Becoming an Iron Worker
Like many building and trade careers, iron workers normally get their start through an apprenticeship program. This program is a hands-on training experience where you spend most of your week with an established professional combined with some in-class training. Typically, you only have to be 18 years old with a high school diploma, in good physical shape for heavy lifting and interested in a long-term career in the profession.