SteelDay 2021: Ironworkers show New Yorkers how to weld, rig, cut and climb
ASTORIA, Queens – Steel helped build America and before Steel Day Friday, the industry wants the country and New Yorkers to know what it is to weld, rig, cut and climb steel .
The Astoria Ironworker Training Center held an open house on Wednesday, showing the benefits of hiring steel contractors, unionized steel workers and promoting the US steel industry.
Contractors, engineers and designers got to see what it’s like to be a blacksmith.
Jacinda Collins, senior structural specialist at the American Institute of Steel Construction, said designing a building is one thing, but putting it together is another.
“When they’re in the process of designing a building, they can kind of create a structure that is easy for the ironworkers to build and that also creates more safety on the site,” Collins said.
Putting themselves in the shoes of ironworkers, participants were able to gain practical experience in a relaxed and fun environment with union members.
Bryan Brady, director of training for Iron Workers Locals 40 & 361, said this gives others involved in a project a better idea of what ironworkers are doing.
“You see people climbing up the column and it takes them 35, 40 seconds and our members do it eight, 10 hours a day, six, seven days a week,” Brady said.
They also learned how science plays out in the workplace. Oxygen and fuel come together to create hot flames to cut steel with a torch.
The day was also aimed at showing future ironworkers a less expensive alternative to university.
“To get into an industry where you can have a real career in the middle class and support a family in the beloved New York metro area,” Brady added.
Attendees like Kenneth Sisk enjoyed the event.
“So far, welding has been my favorite,” Sisk said. “It’s really cool to see. I didn’t realize how difficult it was, but I think in the end I started to understand, so it was really fun.
Brady also said it is important to highlight safety and education in the industry to avoid workplace fatalities. He said 50 people had died in construction projects in New York City over the past four years and that 90% of those killed had not received formal training.
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