A scaffold is a temporary structure erected to support working platforms in the construction industry.
Construction workers will have a safe and stable work platform to do the work that cannot be done at ground level or on a finished floor.
At least two out of three construction workers perform part of their work on scaffolding. Scaffolding is safe when the proper safety guidelines are followed.
However, the latest statistics reveal that approximately 4,000 construction workers in the country are injured each year due to scaffolding.
Scaffolding is not inherently dangerous when the right safety measures are in place.
That’s why it’s important that every construction owner or manager becomes aware of the general guidelines for scaffolding safety.
Here are five steps that enhance scaffolding safety in order to guarantee the safety of construction workers.
- Training Is Important
- Following Instructions
- Considering The Hazards
- Using A Tagging System
- Inspecting The Scaffolding
Training Is Important
All workers that perform their work on scaffolding should fully understand the correct safety procedures.
Scaffolding should be erected, moved, maintained, and dismantled according to the safety standards in the industry.
That’s where you need to train the workers who erect the structure and those who work on the platform.
Make sure that a competent individual is there to erect, oversee, and coordinate scaffolding structures.
Construction workers need to be trained to correctly use the platform and how to handle materials and tools while working on these structures.
The workers should be aware of load ratings and how it affects their work on the structure.
They should also be trained in fall protection methods and how to avoid hazards like electrical wires when on the platform.
Although a scaffold is a simple structure, each system is engineered differently.
You should avoid using components from another manufacturer or system when erecting a scaffold on your construction premises.
The scaffold may not have its full structural integrity when this happens. The structure can become unstable and even collapse under such circumstances.
You should never mix scaffold components unless the manufacturer says the components are compatible with your system.
A scaffold should be set-up on a firm foundation at all times. Base plates and mud sills might be needed depending on the condition of the surface.
Make sure that the scaffold is erected and dismantled under the supervision of a competent person at all times.
Following the correct instructions when erecting scaffolding will avoid accidents and injuries to your workforce.
Considering The Hazards
The hazards involved in scaffolding may vary depending on the work performed on the structure and the environment it is built on.
The biggest hazard of scaffolding is falls. That’s where fall protection equipment comes in handy for scaffolding that is at least three metres above the ground.
Electrocution hazards are common with scaffolds that are in proximity to live power lines and scaffolds are mostly built from metal parts.
Weather hazards are caused when scaffolding is erected outdoors. When the platform is wet or icy, it may create a risk for slips and falls.
The potential for slips and falls is the greatest when the worker is climbing on or off the scaffold.
The competent person on-site should make sure the structure is safe for the worker at all times.
They should consider all the hazards and prevent the workers from being affected by these hazards.
Using A Tagging System
Using a tagging system is one of the best ways to guarantee the safety of your workers. The competent person should provide safety instructions to the workers.
They should attach one of the three-colour-coded tags to the scaffold. A green tag says the system has been inspected and is safe for use.
A yellow tag says the system is safe to use under certain conditions.
For example, a yellow tag will indicate to the construction workers that they can occupy the system only when they have adequate fall and slip protection.
On the other hand, a red tag sends a signal to the workers that the system isn’t safe for occupancy.
Inspecting The Scaffolding
The competent person should inspect and re-inspect the scaffold to guarantee the safety of the workers. They should do it at least on a daily basis.
When weather conditions change, the competent person should re-inspect the scaffolding system and ensure it is safe for work.
If there are multiple shifts in a worksite, a competent person should be available for each shift to inspect and re-inspect the scaffolding system.
These are some of the most important tips to follow in order to guarantee scaffolding safety in your workplace.
If you are looking for knowledgeable and experienced scaffolders, who have leading-hands that work together with you and offer expert advice, please contact us at Skelscaff today on 1300 266 607 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.