What does an Ironworker do?
Ironworkers typically do the following:
- Unload and stack prefabricated steel so that it can be lifted easily with slings
- Use a crane to lift steel beams, girders, and columns into place
- Stand on beams or girders to help position steel pieces that are being lifted
- Signal crane operators for positioning of the structural steel
- Align beams and girders into position
- Verify vertical and horizontal alignment of the structural steel
- Connect columns, beams, and girders with bolts or by welding them into place
- Use metal shears, torches, and welding equipment to cut, bend, and weld the steel.
Iron and steel are important parts of buildings, bridges, and other structures. Even though the primary metal involved in this work is steel, these workers often are known as ironworkers or erectors. When building tall structures such as a skyscraper, ironworkers erect steel frames and assemble the cranes and derricks that move structural steel, reinforcing bars, buckets of concrete, lumber, and other materials and equipment around the construction site. Once this job has been completed, workers begin to connect steel columns, beams, and girders according to blueprints and instructions from construction supervisors.
As they work, they use a variety of tools. They use rope (called a tag line) to guide the steel while it is being lifted; they use spud wrenches (long wrenches with a pointed handle) to put the steel in place; and they use driftpins or the handle of the spud wrench to line up the holes in the steel with the holes in the framework. To check the alignment, they may use plumb bobs, laser equipment, or levels.
Structural steel generally comes to the construction site ready to be put up—cut to the proper size, with holes drilled for bolts and numbered for assembly.
Some ironworkers make structural metal in fabricating shops, which are usually located away from the construction site.
How you're compatible
Find your compatibility with this career and discover the career that you're meant for.
Does your group have something to offer people in this career? Contact us at email@example.com if you're interested in a partnership.