Every year thousands of scaffold-related injuries and deaths are reported. Working on raised scaffolding is a risky job, particularly when proper safety precautions are ignored. The task of using a raised temporary structure to support people or material while constructing or repairing buildings is known as scaffolding.
Since most of the time workers are required to work on high structures, taking scaffolding safety measures is of paramount importance to prevent accidents and injuries. Depending on its usage, there are different types of scaffolding. However, whatever type of scaffolding is used, safety should be the topmost priority.
Whether the labor is working on sky-high warehouse light bulbs or replacing windows on a two-story home, the safety protocols and practices must be observed properly. In this post, we have discussed some great tips on how to stay safe on and around scaffolds.
1. Install Guardrails
It is the responsibility of a construction company that any scaffolding over 10 feet height has guardrails installed, at least on the three sides facing away from the building. It is best if the side facing the building also have guardrails installed for fall protection. Depending on the design of a scaffold, a guardrail is the best way to prevent accidentally stepping off the edge of the platform.
2. Use Planks
To minimize the risk of falling, it is best to cover the whole width of the scaffold with planks. This will not only reduce the chances of an accident but will also create a larger work area. There some situations where this trick will not work, for example when working midway up ladder frames. In such situations, by installing another plank higher up is useful to create a kind of guardrail.
3. Load capacity
One of the most important factors while designing the scaffolding is considering the different types of material and workers load. Most of the times, accidents occur due to overloading the scaffolding with more workers simply to save time. Thus, make sure the number of workers and equipment are in accordance with the load capacity of the scaffolding and nothing is forced against guardrails.
4. Maintain a Three-Point Grip
Maintaining a three-point grip implies that while climbing the structure, one hand and two feet, or one foot and two hands, must remain in contact with the scaffold. Also, try to climb while keeping the body close to the frame and make sure to avoid climbing on the cross braces.
5. Build a Stable Base
Creating a stable base with either casters or base plates must not be ignored. It is best to build a 2×10 block of wood under each leg, to prevent sinking into soft soils or hot asphalt. It is recommended to set the scaffold on blocks because uneven floor or a slightly cupped base plate could result in a small mating surface.
6. Make use of protection
Working on raised structures can be dangerous; therefore, it is crucial to use safety gears, such as head protection, fall prevention gear, and non-slip footwear to maximize your safety, and the safety of others around you.
These are a few tips to safely use scaffolds to get things done off the ground. Apart from this, proper licensing and insurance is another important consideration. Moreover, the highest quality scaffolding equipment is vital for safe operations.