Fall hazards are the major cause for injury on construction sites so when you are looking at a scaffold it is easy picture things going wrong. As a matter of fact 40 percent of all construction fatalities come from fall related instances where if extra safety precautions were taken the outcome may have been different. That’s a lot of unnecessary deaths that when you think about it so taking a few extra steps to ensure the safety of yourself, your workers and the people in the nearby area can go a long way.
The main safety concern with scaffolds is whether it is safe to work on it or not. You want to be sure that the set up process for your system has been done by trained professionals to minimize any potential risk involved. Safety should be the priority on any construction site so to give you some peace of mind we have come up with a short but sweet do’s and don’ts list for when you are working with scaffolds.
What you should be doing
Before you start using scaffolds you should make sure that everyone who is involved in the job has been trained properly. This is to ensure that when the structure is erected that it has been done by someone who is qualified and not just someone who reckons it doesn’t look that hard. Some things that a trained professional will be able to spot are electrocution hazards, falling hazards and the right procedures for dealing with those certain conditions.
If certain conditions or hazards change within your worksite, it is also beneficial to go and get retrained so that you are fully aware of all the procedures you should be taken in certain situations. Your boss may also get you to undergo retraining if they feel that your current knowledge and training isn’t up to scratch of what it should be.
Your personal protective equipment that you choose to take with you up on the scaffolds is also very important. You should be wearing a hard hat around and while working on the system to account for any stray objects that may fall. Additionally non-skid and sturdy work boots should be worn at all times on site. A work belt to hold your tools while you are working from heights is also another great piece of equipment that goes a long way.
What you shouldn’t be doing
When your shift is complete you shouldn’t be leaving anything on your scaffolds. That includes tools or materials that you have been using during your shift. If no one is there to keep watch they could potentially be caught in the wind and end up falling onto a passerby. Even if that doesn’t happen, they would become a trip hazard for whoever is working on top of the structure the following day.
Overloading the system is another thing you shouldn’t be doing. These networks have been designed and tested by engineers to find the point of failure. The weight limits on these systems are there for a reason as if it is exceeded the system will fail and come tumbling down. It is not a guideline it is a rule and not following that rule could lead to some pretty serious injuries for all of those involved. As a general rule of thumb, scaffold systems should be able to support at least 4 times their maximum load.
If you have any questions or concerns about these structures you should ask. At the end of the day it is always better to be safe than sorry.