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A steel fixer is a tradesman who works with all types of steel during construction and building processes. The main duties of a steel fixer include properly installing and welding steel pieces of all sizes into frames for building, and ensuring the welds of all pieces of steel or iron are sufficiently strong. The job training for this position may include limited schooling specific to welding and properties of metal, and an apprenticeship through which the welder will learn from other welders on-site. This is considered a skilled laborer position, which means a steel fixer is likely to make more money than an unskilled laborer.
The duties of a steel fixer may vary according to a specific project, though in general, the duties include welding and properly placing or designing steel structures in concrete projects, building frames, and so on. Steel fixers can work on projects of all sizes, from purely decorative structures to load bearing structures such as buildings and skyscrapers. The steel fixer will need to be proficient in welding skills, and he or she will need to have a thorough knowledge of frame designs and load bearing capabilities of different metals.
Hazards of the job are plenty. Steel fixers routinely work with heavy metals, and lifting such metals can lead to injuries such as muscle strains or tears, as well as spinal compression. Welding is a major component of a steel fixer's job, and several dangers exist during the welding process. The metal can become very hot, leading to burn risk, and the sparks from the welding can also be extremely hot, leading to burns. The steel fixer will need to wear protective gear when welding, including fireproof gloves and a welding mask, which blocks UV rays from the weld before they can hit the eyes. Looking directly at a weld in progress can lead to retinal damage, and looking at a weld for too long even through a welding mask can lead to a condition called arc eye, which can be painful and long lasting.
Steel fixers will very often work with material known as rebar, or reinforcement bars. These thin metal rods can be welded together to make a supporting cage or grid. These bars are very commonly used during concrete construction, since concrete has low tensile strength. The rebar is cast within the concrete, thereby reinforcing the strength of the finished structure. Steel fixers will weld the rebar together to create the reinforcing structure.
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