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Structural Iron and Steel Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Raises, places, and unites iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. May erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Reads specifications or blueprints to determine the locations, quantities, or sizes of materials required.
  • Connects columns, beams, and girders with bolts, following blueprints and instructions from supervisors.
  • Bolts aligned structural steel members in position for permanent riveting, bolting, or welding into place.
  • Fastens structural steel members to hoist cables, using chains, cables, or rope.
  • Hoists steel beams, girders, or columns into place, using cranes or signaling hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural steel members.
  • Verifies vertical and horizontal alignment of structural steel members, using plumb bobs, laser equipment, transits, or levels.
  • Cuts, bends, or welds steel pieces, using metal shears, torches, or welding equipment.
  • Erects metal or precast concrete components for structures, such as buildings, bridges, dams, towers, storage tanks, fences, or highway guard rails.
  • Forces structural steel members into final positions, using turnbuckles, crowbars, jacks, or hand tools.
  • Pulls, pushes, or pries structural steel members into approximate positions for bolting into place.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 50 lbs., sometimes up to 100 lbs. You will need a lot of strength at this level.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupations requires climbing things such as ladders, scaffold, and poles more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Maintaining a body position that prevents falling when in an unstable position
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing objects clearly in glaring conditions or bright lighting
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Welder -- Operates welding equipment to weld ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
  • Oil Field Rig Builder --
  • Ornamental Metal Worker --
  • Steel Fabricator --
  • Wind Turbine Erector --