As every contractor knows, scaffolding is vital to performing the job, but is also very dangerous. Falls from scaffolding are usually serious and can be deadly. The average fall results in an impact at 18 miles an hour. Even in a car that can be serious; with no protection your body could make impact with over 1,000 pounds of force. Safety is paramount when using scaffolding. Here are some basic tips for safe scaffolding.
Every use should be supervised by a competent and trained supervisor. This overseer must be able to take action proactively to eliminate any hazards that may arise. They should be within sight of the scaffolding at all times. They should be directly involved with the erection, alteration and dismantling of the equipment.
It may seem obvious, but a long way up means a long way down. Never forget that you are in a high place. Always brace and use safety belts and lanyards to secure yourself so that if the device gives way you have an extra element of safety to catch yourself. Never remain on the platform when it is being moved.
Inspect Your Equipment
Thoroughly inspect scaffolding while erecting and before using the equipment. Make sure that all of the ropes are solid and not damaged, torn or frayed. Ensure that your pulleys, hooks, fittings and blocks are not worn, rusted or damaged in any way. Make sure the scaffolding is fully planked. Be sure that safety rails are installed and secured. Ensure that your equipment does not lean or wobble.
While on the scaffolding, engage in care and safety at all times. Do not slide down bracing cables or ropes. Do not lean over the edge of the scaffold. Never climb cross braces to get on or off the scaffold. Always use the ladder. Do not climb or jump between scaffolds. Never throw anything overboard without using a spotter on the ground.
Do not climb or sit on the safety rails. Keep both feet on the deck at all times. Keep the deck free of tools, debris and obstructions that could result in tripping or slipping. Always use wheel blocks to chock the scaffold wheels, and make sure that the wheels are locked in place. Every time you move the platform, be sure it is properly leveled with leg screws never extended beyond one foot.
On the Ground
Safety procedures extend beyond those on the platform to those on the ground. Never walk directly beneath the scaffold. This is especially true if there is no wire mesh beneath the planking. Giving a safe berth around the equipment can save lives. Watch for unstable barrels, boxes, blocks and brick. Avoid any equipment that is labeled as being out of service. Always wear a hard hat when in a construction area.
Taking just a few extra minutes and observing basic precautionary measures avoids injury and saves lives. Obeying proper safety procedures is not inconvenient, it’s wise. Do you have any tips or ideas about scaffolding safety? Leave a comment and let us know!