If you work in a construction related trade, then you will understand that sometimes you or a subordinate will be required to work at heights. For centuries, construction techniques around the world have involved using a form of scaffolding to allow workers to ascend to and work efficiently/safely at a higher altitude. The utility is this kind of temporary platforming is clear; it allows workers the freedom to work at heights in the same way (more or less) they would work on ground level.
Of course, what goes up must eventually come down, and for this reason many forms of scaffolding are designed to be easily erected and packed away again. No matter what kind of platforming you are using, there are some basic safety tips you and your colleagues need to follow in order to minimise the risk of an accident.
Let’s take a look at some essential tips for using scaffolding safely on your jobsite.
Ensure that all workers are qualified and reliable when it comes to safety protocol
This tip is pretty self-explanatory, but it is still essential to include in this article because of the high number of ‘rouge’ employees who put themselves and others in danger with their unsafe use of the scaffolding on-site. Taking unnecessary risks to complete tasks faster or ignoring a specific safety measure (like properly securing loose tools so they don’t fall and hit someone below) often results in fatal accidents that could have been easily avoided.
It only takes one careless mistake for a hammer or other blunt tool to plummet from a set of scaffolding and kill an unaware person below – this may sound extreme but it a common hazard on worksites.
Keep it clean
Naturally, failing to tidy up a set of scaffolding means you are inviting a whole array of hazards in the form of things that can be tripped on or blow in a workers’ face when a gust of wind comes. It only takes one piece of cement packaging to blow up into someone’s face, cause them to lose their balance and potentially injure themselves severely – don’t take the risk!
All workers should be supervised and instructed to clean up after themselves constantly so that the risk is minimised. There isn’t only a safety benefit to keeping the scaffolding clear of obstruction – it means everyone will work faster too.
Make sure it is inspected on a daily basis
To ensure maximum safety, a qualified scaffolding safety supervisor should be employed to check and grade the structural integrity of the platform. They need to ensure that all the boards are secure and that every last component is function before anyone climbs onto it.
Even when you haven’t moved the scaffolding and are continuing a job from the previous day in the exact same spot – the platform still needs to be inspected. Something could have happened overnight that has compromised the integrity of the platform and could put your workers at risk.
Keep an eye on weight limits
One of the most common safety tips that is overlooked on construction sites is adherence to the maximum safe working load that platform can withstand. Tools, materials and the workers themselves all add weight onto the platform which can buckle if it is pushed too far.
Hopefully the above tips will allow you to operate scaffolding safely on your jobsite.