Health and Safety: How to Avoid Steel Erection Accidents

At Bromsgrove Steel, we’re compliant to the latest health and safety guidelines while erecting structural steel on site to ensure safe and efficient practices. 

Steel erection can be particularly hazardous, so ensuring all those working on site are aware of the risks is key to reducing accidents.

In this article, we explore some of the most common accidents when undertaking steel erection, and the potential factors playing into them, in order to promote safety on site. 

Common Accidents in Steel Erection

Some of the most common accidents encountered during steel erection include: falls from heights, materials being dropped, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects.

Falls From Heights

Falls from heights during steel erection are a common cause of injury or even fatality.

Falls are often caused by unsecured decking or a failure to use suitable safety equipment, including work platforms and fall protection equipment.

To prevent falls from heights, always ensure that guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems are in place and properly used.

Regularly inspect equipment for any defects or wear and tear that could compromise its effectiveness.

Materials Being Dropped

Materials being dropped from a height and landing on people is another common cause of injury.

Carelessness when handling or putting tools away can lead to tools being knocked or dropped from a height, potentially hitting people working or walking underneath the structure.

To avoid injuries, always secure materials in pouches or other safe means. If you’re working on scaffolding, it should be wrapped to prevent items from falling.


Another common cause of injury or fatality is electrocution by overhead cables, power tools, and electrical outlets.

Ensure you're cautious around electrical cables and equipment; always treat all cables as live until proven otherwise and check that plugs and leads are in good condition before use.

Portable power tools should be used in the intended way, and powered by the correct supply voltage.

Avoid working near overhead power lines with machinery like MEWPs, cranes, and excavators. Cables should also be kept off the ground whenever possible, and if they must be on the ground, ensure they are protected and not a trip hazard.

Caught In/ Between Objects

Getting caught in or between objects on the construction site can result in serious incidents and injuries.

Moving parts always present a hazard of pinching or trapping extremities; be aware of your surroundings and take additional care when working around moving parts.

This also applies to moving vehicles, which can trap unseen pedestrians, especially when reversing. Wear high visibility clothing, use designated pedestrian routes, and never approach the vehicle from behind.

Navigating confined spaces can also be high risk. Training should be provided for those entering small spaces, with a risk assessment, emergency procedures, and a permit in place to minimise the chance of becoming trapped.

Factors Contributing to Steel Erection Accidents

These are the steps you can take to address factors contributing to steel erection accidents, keeping employees safe and work in progress.

We discuss fall protection measures, hazard communication, emergency response plans, risk assessments, inspection and maintenance and equipment use.

Fall Protection

To prevent falls from height, ensure employees always wear a safety harness and use guardrails when working on steel erection projects.

Suitable working platforms such as scaffolding or MEWPs should also be provided. For additional safety, nets should be placed underneath the work area.

From personal protection equipment to working platforms, all equipment should be inspected before use to ensure it's in good working condition.

Hazard Communication

Hazards in the work environment should be communicated effectively with your team before work begins on site.

This begins with a risk assessment which should be relayed to the team and frequent tool box talks held throughout the duration of construction. Tool box talks should remind employees about general hazards and safety protocols on site, as well as any new hazards which may arise.

This is essential to workers understanding their roles and responsibilities in upholding health and safety.

Emergency Response Plans

In the event of an accident or emergency, having a well-prepared response plan can save lives and prevent further harm.

Your emergency response plan should contain the procedures to undertake in the event of an emergency as well as post-emergency measures. For example, a risk assessment plus resources, communication systems, response procedures, and post-emergency plans, such as debriefing and returning to work.

Risk Assessments

It is a legal obligation to provide a risk assessment and have it be accessible when required, with the systems in place to address these risks.

Risk assessments should be carried out by a competent person and should contain a general assessment and specific assessment. General assessments identify risks on site, whereas specific assessments provide a more detailed documentation of specific hazards.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial for keeping equipment in optimal condition and preventing unexpected failures which could lead to accidents.

By regularly inspecting equipment such as cranes, rigging, safety harnesses, and tools, you can identify any potential issues before they escalate.

Inspections should be thorough and detailed, checking for wear and tear, loose parts, and any signs of damage. Maintenance should be carried out according to manufacturer recommendations to ensure the equipment functions properly.

Improper Equipment Use

Improper equipment use can lead to serious injuries and costly damages on the job site. This includes failing to follow proper procedures when handling and using equipment, neglecting to wear safety gear, or using the wrong equipment for the job.

With powerful machinery being used, not understanding the limitations of equipment, playing around with equipment, or trying to take shortcuts can result in accidents.

Train employees on equipment and ensure equipment is handled properly to prevent unnecessary risk.

Steel erection is a dangerous business. Ensure your site is as safe and as efficient as possible by partnering with a qualified and professional steel erection service.

With over a decade of expertise, Bromsgrove Steel is proud to offer a wide range of structural steel erection services. Our onsite team is well-qualified, and they can provide pre-installation services using UKCA marked steel. Prioritising safety, productivity, and environmental responsibility, we are a reliable partner for steel erection services across the country, serving various construction projects for homes, businesses, and industrial sites.

Construction workers are working at height above roof to instrallation accessory steel structure roof truss at construction site factory project during sunset time