The Safety Risks of Constructing the Golden Gate Bridge

The Safety Risks of Constructing the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a world-famous landmark that spans the Golden Gate strait – a 1.6km wide strait connecting the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most internationally recognised symbols of San Francisco and the United States, and a modern ‘Wonder of the World’. The bridge took 4 years to build, using 600 000 steel rivets, and the combined length of the wires used is enough to circle the globe three times over. With over 2 billion cars crossing the Golden Gate Strait since its opening, the bridge has well and truly earned its keep.

However, the workers on the Golden Gate Bridge faced huge safety risks during its construction. Some workers fell off the bridge and the height of the fall – 227 metres at its peak – made many of these accidents fatal. The risk was so severe that a safety net was deployed underneath the construction and it saved many lives. The 19 workers it caught and saved became members of a very lucky “halfway to hell club”. The safety norm at the time of the bridge’s construction, was that one worker was killed every million dollars spent on a project. The actual figures for the Golden Gate Bridge were $35 mill spent on the project and 11 deaths were recorded – so it was considered a success. Perhaps these deaths could have been avoided with today’s more advanced, and safer scaffolding equipment.

Now 80 years old, the Golden Gate Bridge is still one of the most important elements of US road infrastructure, a key piece of cultural and construction heritage, and an iconic symbol of what human engineers are truly capable of. Similarly, working at heights remains a high- risk activity no matter what decade we’re in, and safety has come a long way since construction commenced on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Improvements continue to be made in both methodology and equipment to deliver safer outcomes on today’s challenging projects. Safety for scaffolders and riggers is paramount, so why not contact Sitemax for all your trade specific safety needs. We have you covered with our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), harnesses, tools and lanyards.

Find out how you can successfully deliver your next project more safely with Sitemax. At Sitemax, we make it easy.