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July 2, 2018

5 Safety Tips When Working with Steel and Pipes

What are the most important safety guidelines to follow when handling steel pipes?

  1. Secure inspection
  2. Proper training
  3. Precautionary measures
  4. Safety gear
  5. Proper stacking and storage



Using steel material and fabrication tools is one of the most vital components for construction projects here in the Philippines. Whether a deformed bar or angle bar, it is of utmost importance that safety always be the main priority. And whether you are an amateur or professional, there are a few basic rules that you need to be aware of and well-acquainted with when working with steel materials and steel pipes.

The different types of steel building materials each require their own means as to handling, storage, and transportation. But the fact remains that all the specificities are centered on general equipment principles. Working with construction tools and materials can be very dangerous.

Below are 4 of the most major safety points to keep in mind when working with steel fabrics and pipes:



Security Through Inspection

This is one of the most necessary steps before starting any project. Your tools and materials should be meticulously checked for malfunctioning in order to ensure that they are in good working condition. Steel and metal fabrication utilizes many hand-operated tools such as shears with sharp edges that could easily cut through skin and tissue.

  • Workers using any type of handling or lifting should be competent and certified for operation.
  • Plate clamps should be used to lift one piece of steel at a time.
  • There are many hazards when it comes to steel storage; they may potentially be hazardous by rolling, slipping, sliding, or falling, so it is important that these materials be properly restrained and stored.
  • Racking and shelving systems should be cross-braced as to prevent the event of collapsing.
  • Cranes must be positioned directly over the load in order to prevent swinging upon clearing the ground.



Proper Training

Proper Training and Safety Guidelines

Attention is the most fundamental principle for a successful and accident-free steel construction project. Many large machines are used in steel and metal fabrication projects, sheet metal workers are required to push and pull metal sheets into a machine while executing complete caution in order to prevent clothes from getting sucked in.

When working with tools, it’s imperative to maintain high amounts of security. Many pieces of large machinery come equipped with guarding and safety features made by the manufacturer that you need to be well-versed with.

  • Chains used in securing loads must firmly tie down the load and steel material for transport.
  • Never unload material with the transport vehicle parked on an uneven surface, suitable facilities should be arranged for both loading and unloading.
  • Coil steel should always be transported in cradles that are the same size as a large diameter steel pipe.
  • Large steel pipes should always be kept lying flat and chocked while secure in cradle racks. They should also always be transported in pipe cradles.
  • Workers must always be knowledgeable and fully-aware in the weights of the steel that they are handling.



Exercising the Right Precautionary Measures

This simply entails that handling raw materials, tools, and finished products must utilize the right handling equipment and techniques for application.

  • Steel is usually transported on flatbed trucks. Keep in mind that trucks should have headboard racks ready and available as to protect the drivers from loose material.
  • Trucks that are used in transporting steel should also come with a catwalk that comes with grab rails in between the cab and headboard in order to serve as a safe vantage point for direct loading and unloading.
  • When in the process of unloading pipe or coil steel, stanchion pins should always be left in place with the binders loosened slowly, one at a time, but not completely removed until all of the binding chains have been loosened and there are no apparent signs of the load having shifted.
  • Stanchion pins that are suitable for the load should be placed in the rail-post pockets in order to prevent sideward load movement.
  • Round car, pipe, and steel coil may be stored in racks if they are inclined as to prevent the material from rolling down.



Safety Gear

Wearing the Appropriate Safety Gear

Any person that is handling steel and metal fabrication tools should wear hard hats, gloves, goggles, and safety shoes while in the working premises. Make sure that your back and neck are adequately supported at all times.

It is also well-worth noting to be up to date with your tetanus shots. Tetanus is a medical condition that is caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria that can easily be transferred into your bloodstream when handling metal.



Proper Stacking and Storage

Steel pipes should be stacked in the proper storage racks when they are in storage. Because pipes are often in constant contact with each other during transportation and during the stacking process, there is a potential for friction or impact which could damage the surface of the pipe.

When metal is damaged, it can be more vulnerable to contaminants, extreme heat or cold, or corrosion from exposure to moisture. This is why you should use the several products designed to minimize contact and motion between pipes.

  • Storage racks

One important part of storing and protecting steel pipes is the design of its storage system. A secure storage rack for your pipes should be to correct size to support the diameter, weight, and length of the pipes you need to transport or store.

  • Pipe chocks

Pipe chocks are pyramid-shaped wedges that are placed underneath a pipe on either side to hold it in place. It is often placed at multiple locations along the length of the pipe to improve its effectiveness. It is important to use pipe chocks throughout your stacks to reduce motion, especially if you are using a storage rack that does not hold each pipe individually.

  • Bumper rings

Just like the bumpers on a car, bumper rings protect the pipes from hitting each other. These rings are often fitted around the outside of the pipe, usually at both ends and one in the middle.



Key Takeaway

Steel pipes are crucial parts utilized for construction and industrial projects here in the Philippines. Whether a deformed bar or angle bar, injuries from improper handling and usage are high in possibility. It is a crucial necessity that the points of this article be followed with utter seriousness and adherence.

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