Scaffolding Safety - Top 10 Tips
Working on raised scaffolding can be very dangerous whenever the proper safety precautions are not maintained. However, when the safety protocols and practices are observed properly, working on these structures can be just as safe as any other elevated construction technique. Lets take a look at 10 scaffolding safety tips, and how they keep you safe while working.
1. Get the right training
New safety regulations mandate that all workers who will be working on or near scaffolding be properly trained and educated on how the scaffolds are designed and operated. This includes how to get on and off of the scaffolding safely, how to prevent falls and how to respond to emergency situations while on the scaffolding. This type of training is absolutely essential to keep not only yourself, but everyone else on and below the scaffolding safe at all times.
2. Be prepared
Always ensure that you are inspecting scaffolding thoroughly before using it. Check to make sure the base is secured, and that it is level and adjusted for any lean in the building. Make sure that every single guardrail and plank is installed safely and securely, and also look out for elevation changes, obstructions (such as wires), and weather conditions.
3. Ensure everyone is licensed
OSHA (Occupational Safety And Health Administration) has claimed that rogue employers are a significant risk when it comes to working on scaffolding. These employers are unlicensed to be working, but do so anyways. Rather than go through the proper channels and become licensed, they throw together a pick-up truck, some workers, and uninspected building material. Not only does this put the workers in danger, but it also puts the future occupants of the building in danger as well.
4. Understanding load capacity
During the design stages of scaffolding, one of the main mistakes that is made is failing to consider all of the different types of load that the material will be under during construction and setup. In order to maximize the safety of everyone involved, do not attempt to overload the scaffolding with more workers than it is rated for in order to save time. Also take care to ensure that it is not overloaded by equipment, and that nothing is pushing against any guardrails.
5. Secure the platform
Scaffolding is designed to be braced by or entirely attached to a building. If bracing isn’t properly secured, scaffold movement may dislodge an end, which will reduce the stability of the scaffold. There are a few types of brace retention or locking systems on scaffolds. These systems need to operate freely during assembly and dismantling, and also be able to lock in order to prevent the brace from dislodging. You shouldn’t try and replace the proper parts supplied by the manufacturer with nails or other miscellaneous substitutions.
6. Take advantage of guardrails
When taking the design of a scaffold into consideration, aconstruction company must ensure that any scaffolding over 10 feet high hasguardrails on the three sides facing away from the building, at the very least.The side facing the building is still a danger, so it is recommended to havethem there as well. Guardrails should not be viewed as a replacement for truefall protection gear, which should be worn at all times while on thescaffolding.
7. Inspect it
Scaffolding structures need to be constantly maintained and inspected in order to retain their structural integrity and safety. Someone knowledgeable about the construction of the scaffolds themselves needs to inspect the structure to ensure that it is still functional and safe, making sure that boards are all still intact and that all of the components are still in good shape. Failure to keep these crucial components regularly maintained could lead to extremely hazardous conditions.
8. Keep things organized
Scaffolding structures are notoriously cramped, so it is extremely important that tools are not left out and are put up neatly on the scaffolding itself. Keep all of the walkways free from obstructions and trash that might be able to cause a fall.
9. Balance yourself
Scaffolding must be perfectly level in order to minimize the risk that workers can fall off and be injured or killed. Still, stay alert when on a scaffold, and watch your balance at all times.
10. Use protection, or PPE
This can include things like head protection, fall prevention gear, and non-slip footwear. It is essential to wear these measures at all times in order to maximize your safety, and the safety of all who are around you.