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Steel fixer

Steel fixers position and assemble steel bars and mesh sheeting with ligatures to form reinforcement for concrete structures such as concrete slabs, columns, drainage and communication pits, walls and concrete barrier structures. Steel fixing is the mould created prior to pouring the concrete.

Tasks and tools used

  • lifting and carrying materials onsite which include steel bars up to 10m (typically 6m lengths) and up to 36mm in diameter (typically 12-25mm widths)
  • steel bars can be lifted individually or in small bundles (typically 16mm x 6m bar weighs 9.7kg)
  • ligatures are generally carried in multiples and can vary from 1kg to 7kg each
  • mesh sheets vary in size and can weigh up to 66kg requiring 2 workers to lift
  • spacers (small chair like structures) are used to position steel components into place
  • steel is tied into position with wire and hand held nip tools which involves gripping and a twisting forearm action
  • steel may also be welded or clipped into position
  • steel is cut to size on site using angle grinders or bolt cutters
  • access to site may involve climbing stairs and ladders
  • negotiation of uneven surfaces and obstacles including stepping on and between the lattice of steel bars and mesh sheeting
  • balancing on and walking across structures may be required.

Personal protective equipment

  • gloves
  • hard hat
  • mask
  • visibility vest
  • trousers
  • safety boots
  • ear muffs/plugs
  • safety glasses
  • sunscreen.
Critical job demand descriptor% of time the task is performedTask


  • gripping of objects


34% - 66%

  • flexed position of the trunk greater than 15 degrees
  • negotiation of uneven surfaces and obstacles
  • carrying of objects weighing up to 10kg
  • lifting of objects weighing up to 10kg between floor and shoulder height

5% - 33%

  • climbing of stairs and ladders
  • use of power tools
  • pushing/pulling objects
  • carrying of objects weighing greater than 25kg
  • lifting of objects weighing greater than 25kg between floor and waist height

Suitable duties

  • goals must be clear, realistic and achievable
  • must have 'buy-in' from the worker
  • worker helps to set the goals, and must be answerable if goals are not met (this allows barriers to RTW to be identified at an early stage and obstacles overcome)
  • workers need to understand they have an obligation to participate in rehabilitation and RTW as per Section 232 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act).

Steel fixer return to work suggestions

Worker can begin with light duties and include more tasks as their capacity for work changes. We'll work with all parties, including the treating medical provider, employer and worker to ensure everyone is aware of where the worker is with their rehabilitation and stay at, or return to work.

Note: some tasks are dependent on worker's injury and capacity, and some tasks may require the assistance of a co-worker.

Host employment

In the event an employer is unable to provide suitable duties, a host placement may be required. If this is the case, the worker may be placed at a different employer in a graduated return to work plan until they're able to 'upgrade' back to his/her pre-injury role with their pre-injury employer.

WorkCover Queensland's Recover at work program places injured workers in short term host employment with employers who have an established track record of successful return to work outcomes with their own workers.

More return to work resources