Scaffolding, by its very nature, is dangerous. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to make them at least marginally safer. If you manage a construction site and you are responsible for the safety of the employees, you will have to have at least some knowledge about scaffolding safety. Let’s take a look at some of the basic things to be aware of.
First of all, never allow any employees to use scaffolding unless they have been trained to do so. Untrained workers are more likely to cause and to be involved in accidents. This means they place everyone in danger. Invest in your workers, and make sure they are properly trained.
Scaffolding must be inspected before every use. Make sure someone is responsible for doing that each day, and that a log is kept of their inspections. A risk assessment should be complete that identifies both dangers and hazards and has steps in place to help reduce these. Make sure that the log of risk assessments is kept near the scaffolding itself, so other people can look into it as well.
We live in a society where everybody has to cut corners in order to lower costs and meet budgets. However, one thing that you should never cut costs on is the safety of your employees. It is more than likely that you can purchase scaffolding from an unregulated country in South America or Asia for a fraction of the price that you do now. Anything that has ISO certification is more expensive, at the end of the day. However, without that ISO certification, you are putting the life of humans in significant danger and the cost of that, both financial and moral, is huge.
All scaffolding come with load restrictions and you must stick to those. What many people seem to forget is that the weight mentioned on the load restriction is the total weight. This means all employees as well as all their tools. Too often, construction workers believe that the load restriction is the maximum weight of a single construction worker, but that is wrong. Plus, construction workers often have added weight due to their personal protective equipment, and that has to be factored in as well.
You should also make sure your equipment is properly maintained. An independent supervisor should complete regular inspections to see if you have missed anything during your daily risk assessment. Any issues that are spotted must be addressed straight away.
Store the Scaffolding Properly
If the scaffolding is not in use, it should be stored away properly. This will help to protect the integrity of the boards and the metal framework as well. If left exposed to the elements, the boards will expand and contract, leading to weak spots where they could break. This has a huge effect on the load capabilities of the boards as well. The tower itself, meanwhile, could start to corrode if left outside, which is equally dangerous.