Have you ever heard the word ‘safety first? Yes, it is a memorable phrase in the construction world. But, especially when it comes to scaffolding on site, it is more than essential to write it on a wall.
Why? Scaffolding will take you to a height that you can’t just jump down at wish. And, when you are at that level, it can be dangerous to fall. Falling from a high-risen scaffold can lead to several life-threatening injuries. In some instances, it can result in loss of life. Click here to learn about how to be safe from Scaffolding Accidents.
I don’t mean to scare you with bad news, but that is what it entails. For instance, in the construction industry, thousands of scaffolding-related injuries occur every year. In figures, contractors lose about $90 million to workdays – that does not include other costs associated with the unpleasant occurrence.
Though some blame scaffolding-related injuries on inferior quality materials, factory faults, and other related factors, can I burst your bubbles? Most of those accidents are self-inflicted.
I have discovered that most accidents occur because workers take safety precautions for granted from a professional perspective. As a result, some get it wrong at the setup level, while others lack the appropriate safety precautions to avoid those injuries.
No matter where the errors come from, permit me to be the one to tell you that these accidents are preventable. What does that suggest? It is simple. Proper planning and preparation can put you on a safer.
So, what are the safety precautions that can help you avoid scaffolding hazards? Let’s go and discuss them extensively, one after the other.
1. Use the Right Safety Tools
The first thing that should always be in your mind before climbing a scaffold is that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must. If you are want to use scaffolding in an industrial or construction site, make sure that you get all the proper safety equipment ready. Even in the government-approved Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) standards, it is essential to have all the necessary personal protective equipment before you can embark on any construction or industrial project.
Based on facts, many of the scaffolding-related injuries happened when something wanted to fall. So, it is ideal for wearing a hard hat fixed to your head to avoid falling from the scaffold. In addition, wearing non-slip footwear can be very helpful in safety efforts. How about using a fall arrest? It is one of the excellent safety options you’ve got.
2. Observe Load Limits
Putting too many loads on the scaffold can cause it to become weak and break. When that happens, the result is better imagined than experienced. In case you don’t know, the manufacturers make each scaffolding material with specific load-carrying capabilities. So, you need to carefully choose the kind of scaffolding that can carry all the load you want to use while staying up there.
Excess can make the platform on which you are standing to break, crack or even collapse entirely and that may cause serious accidents, especially if you are already at the peak.
3. Comply with relevant standards and regulations
You need to know that the construction industry has its peculiar standards and rules that everyone in any given construction site should follow.
Meanwhile, you should note that those regulations vary from one state to another, even from one city to another. Hence, knowing the rules and standards of a particular city is not enough; as a seasoned contractor, you need to be familiar with the laws and ethics guiding the use of scaffolding in each town or state you are using it.
Meeting the prescribed standard will go a long way in preventing you from scaffolding accidents from time to time.
4. Check the scaffolding materials
It is essential to examine all the scaffolding materials and ensure they are all in good working condition before using them. Before you climb, make sure that you thoroughly inspect every part of the scaffolding to confirm whether they perfectly fit into the correct position.
During the inspection, check for any defected or damaged part that may affect the stability of your scaffolding. Aside from that, you have to ensure that all the materials come from the same manufacturer. Avoid scaffolding that has materials made by different manufacturers. The parts may not match when setting it up, and that can lead to a severe accident.
5. Set it up properly
It is essential to follow all the necessary instructions of the manufacturer when setting up your scaffolding. It is one of the best options to prevent scaffolding accidents. Unfortunately, many people fail at the setup level because they want to use their head knowledge.
The right approach to use when building your scaffold is to open the user manual by your side and follow the guide step by step. That will help you to use the appropriate fasteners and bracers. Fixing a faulty component in the wrong place can jeopardize the entire structure.
Besides, it is also essential to check the ground level when setting up your scaffolding. How balanced the scaffold stands on the ground also matters in preventing scaffolding accidents. Ensure that you brace correctly to achieve stability.
6. Keep heavy equipment away
It is not good enough to put heavy equipment at the base of the scaffolding. You should also make sure that there are no vehicles around the scaffolding area. Although, in some cases, it can be necessary to have some heavy equipment around for particular use. In that case, make sure that you put them at a far distance.
7. Be conscious of the weather
Whenever you are working on a scaffold, make sure that you are working in pleasant weather. It is dangerous to climb a height in harsh weather conditions. When the working environment or atmosphere is not supportive, it may increase the risk of a scaffolding accident.
For instance, when the high wind is shaking every object in the environment, it may also affect your scaffolding or the person working on it. In other cases, a heavy storm can also bring down a power line, bringing scaffolding hazards.
It is possible to avoid scaffolding accidents if you play by the rules. Being fully aware of the safety precautions is paramount if you want to work with the utmost peace of mind. Meanwhile, It is ideal for getting licensed before you erect scaffolding on your site. Whether you pitch it yourself or hire a scaffolding contractor, getting certified is a must for safety.