Structural Integrity

Page prepared by: Alex Ames

[Disclaimer: this page is not intended as an exhaustive list of resources or a complete training on this hazard. Its purpose is to provide a starting point for learning about this hazard.]

  • Permanent structures must undergo review and certification by professional engineers.
  • It can be difficult to ‘eyeball’ structural integrity; even experienced structural engineers must perform extensive calculations or design strictly from an accepted standard with comfortable factors of safety.
  • Unsafe environments can go unnoticed due to haste, habit, or a host of other factors. If any aspect of your lab’s structural design (including equipment and support structures, elevated access platforms, or the building’s structure) seems at all unsafe, don’t hesitate to raise concerns to supervisors and lab managers.
  • Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers includes useful rules of thumb for structural loading and design. Older editions are available from used booksellers for under $30.

Work practices should include:

  •  Periodic inspection programs for cracks and damage
  • Tracking of load cycles for systems where material fatigue may cause structural failures

Useful resources

In the Engineering Physics Department

  • (if applicable)

At UW Madison