Ironworkers held about 80,100 jobs in 2014. Nearly all ironworkers were employed in the construction industry.
Structural iron and steel workers held about 61,400 jobs in 2014. Approximately 45 percent were employed by foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors, and about 23 percent were employed in nonresidential building construction.
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers held about 18,700 jobs in 2014. Approximately 66 percent were employed by foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors, and about 12 percent were employed in nonresidential building construction.
Ironworkers help build the supporting structures for bridges and for industrial, commercial, and large residential buildings. Structural ironworkers usually work outside in most types of weather, and some work at great heights. In doing so, they perform physically demanding and dangerous work. As a result, workers must wear safety devices, such as harnesses, to reduce the risk of falls. Rod busters must be able to carry, bend, cut, and connect rebar at a rapid pace to keep projects on schedule. They spend much of their time moving, bending, and stooping, also physically demanding work.
Injuries and Illnesses
Structural iron and steel workers experience several work-related deaths each year that are due to falls and contacts with objects and equipment. Ironworkers may experience cuts from sharp metal edges and equipment, as well as muscle strains and other injuries from moving and guiding heavy iron and steel.
The vast majority of ironworkers work full time, and in contrast to other construction occupations, few are self-employed.
Structural ironworkers who work at great heights do not work during wet, icy, or extremely windy conditions. Reinforcing ironworkers may be limited by any kind of precipitation.