In scaffolding, safety is the most important aspects that always take precedence when setting up, using and also dismantling the structure. Remember mishandling scaffolds not only puts workers and builders at risk of accidents but could also involve legal action and great losses. Therefore, you must always know and take all the recommended scaffold safety precautions to ensure the best experience with the structures.
Although many people usually argue that scaffolding safety rests in the hands of the manufacturers and people responsible for erecting the structure, safety usually begins with the workers. Manufacturers’ part is to design and construct high quality scaffolding basic elements and accessories, and this is confirmed during the inspection of parts by suppliers. Besides, after setting up the structure, it is also inspected to make sure that it is safe for use.
Builders or other people working on scaffolds should always remain posted on the best scaffolding safety procedures. In fact, great focus should be placed on the workers since any accident to them will not only slow down the project but could also push you to paying compensation fees, which is not usually cheap.
Guidelines to Scaffolding Safety
There are a number of items to always consider when setting up, using and dismantling scaffolding for safety on your work site. The following are the key guidelines to scaffolding safety that you should take note of;
Ascertain whether the scaffolds meet the set safety standards
The Building and Construction industry authorities require that every contractor or individual obtains a license confirming the safety of the scaffolding components they intend to use for their projects. Setting up and using scaffolds without contacting the authorities could have legal repercussions, which you do not want to get into.
Let the experts do the job
Although there are some simple scaffolds that are considered DIY, it is not recommended for anyone without proper knowledge of and experience with scaffolding to operate the structures during erection or dismantling. In case you have to do it by yourself, always ensure that you have carefully studied and understood the processes of setting up the structure and using it. However, the best option is to always acquire scaffolding erection services to allow professionals handle the structure’s assembly and also offer basic training to your workers on how to operate or use it.
Always make sure that the scaffold is inspected before use
Even scaffolds that are set up by professionals can develop weakness, disposition of components and other inconveniences in the process of working on them. As a result, it is advisable that you always thoroughly check the base plates and other components used at the bottom of the structure for stability. The inspection should also extend to other sections of the scaffold so you are sure of its safety when in use. In case any defects are noticed during the inspection process, they should be fixed immediately before workers step on the structure.
Based on the inspection report, some scaffolding components may need to be replaced or repaired. However, the inspection may also find out that your structure is safe and does not need any adjustment or customization.
When making replacement or repairs to the scaffold, be sure to always use the right components that are compatible with the existing elements and accessories. If you are not good at inspecting scaffolds, hiring scaffolding safety professionals is the best alternative. Remember, assuming or failing to notice and fix even the slightest hitch on a scaffold could be disastrous.
Remove any potential risks from the work site
There are several kinds of risks that can be found on scaffolding work sites like, loosely hanging naked electrical wires, uneven grounds among others. Naked electrical wires can expose your workers to the risk of shock or even hinder them from accessing certain areas of the building being worked on. In case they cannot be removed, it is advisable to cover them properly. In the case of uneven grounds, you will need to do a little leveling to enhance the stability of the scaffold.
Know the maximum weights recommended for the scaffolding
This is one of the factors that that most contractors and builders do not usually think of when erecting and using scaffolding. Scaffolds have varying loading capacities, which you should take note of when choosing the most suitable type for your project. Imposing loads exceeding the recommended limit for your structure can create so much pressure on the components, thereby weakening it or even breaking some scaffolding components.
Workers should always wear safety gear
Generally, it is recommended that every person working on a scaffold rising above 1.5 meters high put on protective gear. Safety belts and head gears are some of the most important for people operating on scaffolds. Head gears can protect the head from injuries caused by falling objects or sliding off the platform. A safety belt holds the worker in position so he or she does not fall in the event of such an accident.
Scaffolding should be stored properly
The way in which your scaffolding is stored also plays a part in lengthening or shortening its lifespan. Most scaffolding components are made from steel and aluminum, which could easily be affected by rust and corrosion if not stored properly. If this occurs, the scaffolds will become weak, start to bend and also develop cracks. In order to preserve the quality of your scaffolding, always ensure they are stored within the conditions set by the manufacturer.
Get to know about all the safety features of scaffolding and how they are used
There are various kinds of safety features on scaffolds that workers should be well trained on. Hand rails and guard rails are the most common safety features that you should know how to use when operating on scaffolding. Besides, builders should also know where these safety features are erected on the structure for convenience in the event of any risk.