Boilermaker Job and Risk Profile

What does a Boilermaker do? 


A boilermaker cuts, welds and assembles steel to construct or repair metal items. They often work with closed vats, boilers and other large items containing gas or liquids. On a construction site these types of tradesmen work on the installation process for a variety of buildings and factories. This job may even involve working on iron or steel structures such as ships and other vessels. An important task in this line of work is testing existing boilers for leaks or defects; this helps to avoid potentially catastrophic boiler explosions. This line of work tends to require travel and living on site for long stretches of time in order to complete work on a project. 

How do you become a Boilermaker? 


An apprenticeship in the trade is essential in order to become a licensed worker. A high school certificate is generally required as well as good grades in mathematics. There is a much higher likelihood of being accepted into a training apprenticeship if the applicant has previous welding experience; particularly in the form of existing certification. An apprenticeship will include a solid amount of theory work but, suitably for this hands-on profession, the bulk of the training will be on the job learning from qualified tradesmen. During training, students are paid a modest apprentice level wage which increases upon completion of the qualification. 

What are common injuries for a Boilermaker? 


Although considered one of the less dangerous trades in terms of injury statistics, the workplace does still pose some risks. Most of these relate to the tools used in the trade, such as cuts from power grinders, or from the unlikely but serious event of a boiler explosion. 

Minor injuries include –

  • Muscle strains from heavy lifting
  • Bruises from falls

Serious injuries include –


  • Burns from acetylene torches

  • Cuts from power grinders

Long term injuries include –

  • Back or neck injuries from falls
  • Severe injuries, or fatalities, from boiler explosion 

What is a boiler? 


A boiler is an apparatus than burns fuel and normally contains water or gas. Often the purpose is to heat water for domestic, commercial or manufacturing purposes, although not necessarily "boiling" it. Boilers need to be installed and maintained in most buildings and factories globally. 

Do boilers explode? 


Boilers can explode although it is a very rare, and catastrophic, event. This normally occurs due to a huge pressure failure which is avoidable with proper installation and maintenance. A boiler is said to have the explosive potential of a bomb - highlighting the importance of the job these tradesmen do. 

How much does a Boilermaker make? 


The salary of these tradesmen range between $43,919 - $120,762 with the median salary sitting at $66,959 per annum. 

What is the career path for a Boilermaker?


The most common mode of work for this profession is as a building equipment contractor, although there are other possibilities in the field such as working in utility system construction or fabricated metal product manufacturing.

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Last update on:
May 30, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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