Risk Factors in Cutting Galvanized Steel

When demolitions require precision, there are instances when cutting galvanized steel is necessary. Frequently, when renovating and conducting demolitions in commercial spaces, galvanized steel is present. This may seem fairly straight forward, but there are many reasons to leave cutting galvanized steel to demolition professions.

Toxic Metal Fumes

When cutting galvanized steel, zinc fumes are released into the area. These zinc fumes are fairly toxic and result in a condition that some have called “metal fume fever.” Even though this condition only lasts about a day, the symptoms are quite debilitating. They range from a dry throat to fever, tiredness, aches, and other flu-like symptoms. In order to combat metal fume inhalation, demolition specialists are outfitted with special breathing apparatuses as well as commercial-grade ventilation devices for the area.

Explosive Elements

When cutting galvanized steel, this results in a shower of sparks. Combine these sparks with a highly explosive hydrogen gas that is let off from the zinc that exists in the galvanized steel and you have a potentially explosive situation. Even if special precautions for these variables are taken into consideration, one must still consider additional explosive materials in the cutting space such as building elements, demolition debris, and other substances. Experienced demolition specialists are well acquainted with how to cut galvanized steel in a safe manner that limits the risk of explosion.

Zinc Dust & Debris

In addition to toxic metal fumes from the zinc properties of the galvanized steel, the zinc chloride dust and debris that is created from galvanized steel can irritate the skin. Chemical burning, rashes, and dermatitis are not uncommon symptoms of coming into contact with zinc chloride dust. If the fumes and dust come into contact with or are inhaled on a regular basis, the results may leave permanent damage, if not become fatal. Experienced demolition professionals understand these risks and mitigate them with many protective measures.


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