What is scaffolding? Traditionally, this is a temporary structure using a temporary platform that elevates workers for construction, repair, maintenance, inspection, and cleaning. Although this system is now also used for several other applications like art shops, events places, amusement parks, retail stores, gardens, etcetera, it is widely used for construction.
Whatever the form and use, it is important that users observe safety measures in its construction and use, although it is easier to hire scaffolding for convenience. These companies will handle everything from city ordinance, building and disassembling the structure.
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), an estimated 2.3 million or 65 per cent of the construction industry workers worked on scaffolding. Accidents and injuries involving scaffolding account for 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths per year. Scaffolding frequently gets into the Top 10 Most Frequently cited by OSHA standards violations.
For your guidance and reference, these are the safety measures companies should observe every step of the way:
No personnel should be allowed to enter the construction site without proper mandatory training.
Workers can get so familiar with their work and the structure’s system that they overlook certain things. It may seem simple, but each scaffold part is engineered to function distinctly. Scaffold pieces and parts should never be mixed up. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
All workers must be trained and oriented for any structural or task changes.
- Area Prep
Ensure that the structure will be assembled on levelled ground. Uneven and unstable grounds can result in possible accidents injuring workers.
A trained, competent person should supervise and oversee the construction of the structure. This skilled and experienced personnel should train all construction workers in safe scaffolding use.
- Workers’ Safety
Business hours should only start when all workers are properly and completely equipped with safety gears, including goggles, a hard hat, gloves, safety boots, face shields, and masks.
- Load Capacity
Test the load capacity of your structure. Check whether the structure can support a load that is four times its weight.
- Scaffolding Inspection
It is never too much when it comes to safety. It is always best to err on the safe side. Therefore, inspect every footing, leg, post, frame, guardrails, toeboards, cross braces, mudsill, baseplates, planks, access ladder, plumb verticals, access gates. In short, everything. Reminder, cross braces should never be used for access or exit. Use the access ladder for this purpose. Ensure you have safe access.
Ensure that there are no power lines or tools within 10 feet around your scaffolds.
The type and integrity of your scaffolding should be able to withstand the load and materials it is supposed to carry. Should the structure be built for an event, check the weather forecast and adjust your structures accordingly.
All scaffolds should be inspected and marked accordingly. Green tags mean they are safe for use, yellow tags indicate scaffolds underwent modifications to meet standard work requirements and workers on them should wear and use an approved safety harness. Red tags are, of course, unsafe to use. These tags should be visible to all at eye level. Untagged scaffolds should never be used.
Safety is key at the workplace or at the venue for an event. Therefore, it is crucial that you hire scaffolding experts because they are knowledgeable, trained and experienced in all the technical aspects of the structure.
We have seen how scaffolding has been used extensively both in construction and entertainment. Proper knowledge, understanding and use of the engineering behind it will help users prevent untoward incidents. In everything, it pays to be mindful and responsible.