You may believe that there is now way to make scaffolding safe. In reality, however, having the right behaviors and tools in place can make a very big difference. If you work on a construction site and scaffolding is used, then the following information may be life-saving. Let’s take a look at the 6 ways to stay safe with scaffolding.
1. Advocate Training
Anyone that uses scaffolding or that operates in the vicinity of scaffolding should be properly trained. Many studies have shown that a lot of the fatal accidents involving scaffolding have been caused by people not being trained in safe usage, or in the appropriate procedures that have to do with scaffolding. Training should include knowledge about the types of scaffolding, how to set it up, how to use it, fall protection, and work safety practices.
2. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect
Inspections should be completed every day before anyone uses the tower. This should not be a perfunctory thing either, but a thorough inspection. Start at the foundation and finish at the highest level. Check all the screws, locks, and braces for rust and make sure they are secure. Check the wood for damage and rot. Make sure all other elements are properly attached and positioned.
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3. Stick to Quality
Scaffolding isn’t cheap and this has led to a number of companies being formed that offer scaffolding at highly discounted prices. Don’t use them. Always make sure your materials are properly certified. Yes, they cost more, but the lawsuits you will be filed with if someone were to die or be injured as a result of unsafe, uncertified scaffolding towers will be far more expensive. Plus, you should always put people before profits.
4. Don’t Overload
Scaffolding is built to hold a certain amount of weight and no more. Never, ever, exceed this weight. Remember, as well, to count the weight of the materials, as well as the combined weight of the people working on your scaffolding. This is why you also have to make sure that all your construction workers are honest about their weight, including the weight of their personal protective clothing, as these calculations have to be made properly. Always round upwards as well, so that you have a reasonable margin of error.
5. Maintain Your Scaffolding
Whether in use or not, the tower should be regularly inspected and the individual parts should be properly maintained. This regular inspection should be done by an independent supervisor who is knowledgeable about structure and design. They will check each individual part and tell you whether something needs repairing or replacing. If any part is no good anymore, you won’t have wasted it as you may be able to reuse it somewhere else, just not on your scaffolding tower.
6. Store it Properly
Last but not least, your scaffolding should be properly stored. If you leave it exposed to the elements all the time, what do you think will happen to the individual parts? Storage is a key element to overall safety.