Scaffolding is essential in any construction project because it ensures the builders’ safety and provides easy access. However, there have been several incidences where hazards occur due to unsafe use of the scaffolds. Before you embark on using the scaffold, you need to be adequately trained, but not everyone adheres to this requirement. We shall look at some of the safe tips guidelines and when it comes to using scaffolds.
Important scaffolding safety checklist
Be it erecting, inspecting, altering, supervising, or even dismantling scaffolds, scaffolding companies in London need to have a competent person with the right training level to handle everything. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 requires that a competent person design the scaffold in cases where it doesn’t follow the recognised standard configuration. They should ensure that the scaffolds’ strength, stability, and firmness won’t be compromised during the erection, use, and dismantling process.
The scaffold user should ensure that they provide adequate and comprehensive details to their contractors(especially if they need a bespoke scaffold). This will ensure that the scaffolds are made suitable and safe for their project.
Some of the crucial information you should provide when looking for the right scaffolds include the following:
- The intended use
- The site’s location
- Duration you expect to use the scaffolds.
- Dimensions of the structure
- Maximum working load and number of people to use the scaffold at the same time
- Will there be a need for sheeting or netting.
- Specific requirements or provisions, among other things
There are also essential details that the contractor/supplier should brief the user before installing the scaffolds. These include some of the following:
- The type of scaffold required.
- The recommended safe working load.
- The maximum lift lengths and bay heights
- The platform boarding arrangements.
- Details of any additional elements like loading bays or beamed bridges.
- Any other relevant information concerning the design, erection, and use of the scaffolds
Sharing all this information will ensure that the scaffolding is installed, used, altered, and dismantled safely. If the scaffolds are complex, then a drawing can be used for specific instructions.
Scaffolding hazards that you should avoid
There are plenty of accidents that happen due to failure to adhere to any safety requirements for the installation use and dismantling of scaffolds. It is upon the contractor and user to ensure that the scaffolding safety isn’t compromised in any way. Highlighted below are some of the risks that should be avoided:
1. Accidents due to poor installation and construction of the scaffolds
To ensure that the scaffold safety requirements are met, it is advisable to have a competent person handle everything. Anyone who uses scaffolding needs to receive thorough training first, which helps when it comes to identifying a poorly constructed or faulty and unsafe scaffold. This way, it will be easier to avoid any accidents that might occur due to poor construction.
2. Falling from a height
It is not uncommon to see fall hazards from poor scaffolding during construction. This can be due to carelessness or failure to adhere to the scaffold safety protocols. Poor installation or lack of guard rails can lead to workers falling off. Such a fall can cause severe injuries, so it’s always good to be more vigilant and careful.
3. Poor planking
If the scaffold planking is not safe and properly secured, it can cause someone to slip and fall. The quality of the planks used also matter. If the quality isn’t right, then the planks can break under pressure, thus causing someone to fall.
4. Injuries caused by falling objects
Falling objects are a huge concern for construction sites. Whether it’s some of the scaffold components or tools being used by the workers on the scaffold platform, these falling objects can cause serious harm to the people below. This can be avoided by ensuring that the workers receive adequate safety training to prevent the items from falling.
5. Lack of PPE
It is a standard safety measure for managers or employers to ensure that workers are well equipped with personal protective equipment(PPE) when working at height. The team should also know how to properly use this equipment to avoid any injuries to them or the team members below.
6. Electrocution hazards
Contractors should ensure that they have a competent person to identify any electric hazard present during the scaffold installation or use. To ensure employee scaffolding safety in construction, the contractors should work closely with the power company to ensure the hazard is well managed.
How to avoid scaffolding hazards
As a contractor or scaffold user, you should ensure that the scaffolding is safe and adherent to all safety standards. Here are some of the safety practices that can be implemented.
- Ensure you get well-trained individuals to work on the scaffolding.
- If the work height is up to 10 feet or more, you should ensure that there’s fall protection.
- Ensure that there are signs to warn those nearby of any possible hazards and the presence of barriers to prevent anyone from walking under the scaffold platform.
- Ensure that there are at least 10 feet between the scaffold and any electric hazard.
- Make sure the access to the scaffold is safe for all employees.
- There should be a scaffold competent person to inspect the scaffolding during its erection, moving, or disassembling. Such safety precautions will ensure there’s no risk of the scaffold being unsafe.
“OSHA defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”
Bamboo scaffolding safety
Bamboo scaffolding is common for its strength and resilience. Although the material used is pretty light, it has a greater tensile strength compared to steel. Bamboo material is also considered a safer option because it is less likely to cause extensive damage if it falls during construction. This is unlike steel, which can be pretty destructive. Other than being affordable, bamboo scaffolding is also easy to erect and disassemble. You can have a look at the costs you’re likely to incur on this comprehensive scaffolding price guide.
There’s a lot more that you can learn concerning the various safety procedures for scaffolding. It will be easier for you to ensure that the scaffold equipment is safe for use with a safety inspection list. By going through this article, you will be able to acquire more information on basic scaffolding safety. You can also reach out to us if you need any professional advice or help with scaffold equipment.