Back to Basics: Construction Safety at Your Steel Building Site
Worldwide Steel building kits are designed under the assumption that you’re going to want to erect the building on your own, maybe with some help from a small crew of friends or a local contractor. So even if you’re not in the construction business, as long as you have some common sense and a couple more sets of arms willing to help you get the walls up, you can DIY the entire build. Most of our customers don’t even need to rent a crane or any other heavy equipment!
Our trusses are pre-punched, our sheet metal attaches to purlins and girts with self-drilling, color-coded screws, and we include a step-by-step assembly manual to guide you through your unique building process, start to finish.
But – and this is a big but – just because our steel buildings are simple to erect doesn’t mean they’re accident-proof. You’re working with huge, heavy sheets of metal and tall steel beams, so safety rules still apply. Here are just a few we consider non-negotiable:
Wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
The right clothing and equipment can mean the difference between a bandage and a hospital stay on a steel building construction site. Here’s what you’ll need to wear:
- A hard hat. Everyone on or near the steel building construction absolutely must wear an OSHA-approved hard hat, all the time. Even if you’re not actively building, there is always a risk of head injury due to falling objects.
- Boots. Always wear sturdy work boots. They should have good ankle support and no-slip rubber soles. We strongly recommend steel toe boots for peak safety.
- Gloves. Some of the sheet metal building materials can be sharp on the edges. Wear work gloves to protect your hands from lacerations.
- Goggles. Again, make sure they’re OSHA-approved and have a pair handy for anyone who is using a drill or a saw.
- Masks. You don’t need a mask when you’re working with steel, but you should have them on hand for when you’re working with insulating materials or wood trim.
Eliminate as many fall risks as possible
To us, this means doing as much work as you can on the ground. Then lifting and installing the components (like walls and roofing) once they’re more complete. For the times when you absolutely need to be up high (every job has these, of course), you can continue to mitigate your risk. Things like ladder safety and avoiding roof work in windy or slippery conditions can go a long way.
Communicate with everyone working on the project
Whether you’ve hired help or just convinced your buddies to help you raise the walls on your steel building, everyone on site needs to take the project seriously. This means wearing the correct PPE, knowing how to handle the building components and erect the steel framing, and paying attention to what’s going on around them. Keep emergency numbers and a first aid kit available near or on site, and be sure everyone around the project knows where they are.
Keep the job site clean
Sound silly? It isn’t. A picked-up construction site can have a direct impact on your safety. Not only will clear work areas prevent falls and falling objects, they’ll allow clearer exit paths in case of an emergency (like a fire). This means keeping all your work surfaces clean and dry, sealing containers that you aren’t using, keeping all objects and tools off work surfaces, stairways and out of hallways, and putting all your equipment away when it isn’t in use.
Admit when you’re out of your depth
Thanks to all the resources available today, there’s a lot that can be DIYed. But sometimes, aspects of a steel building project really just call for a professional. Think complicated electric or HVAC installations. Don’t be afraid to call for assistance when you think you need it. You’ll end up safer and with a better building in the end … and yeah, you can still say you built it yourself!
For more information, safety protocols and steel building recommendations, download a copy of our Steel Building DIY Instructions. This guide comes with every metal building kit we send out, but we decided to make it available to you before you buy, too. It’s a sneak peek at the building process and a good way to figure out how much help you’ll need from a Worldwide Steel expert.
We’re here to help. Give us a call at (800) 825-0316 or contact us here. Let’s have some (safe) fun bringing your building idea to life!