Fall hazards are the leading cause of construction worker deaths, accounting for almost half of all fatalities in construction each year. OSHA estimates that approximately 65 percent of construction workers perform some work on scaffolds each year. Without an understanding of the hazards of scaffolding, this could lead to dangerous situations for construction workers and operations across the country.
The key issue to safety when working on scaffolding boils down to whether or not the scaffold is safe to work on. Here are in the photo of today some guidelines to ensure complete safety.
before starting our safety tips we have some questions:
What is Scaffolding Safety?
Scaffolding safety is a set of preemptive actions in building, inspecting, using, and tagging scaffolds. To ensure scaffolding safety, the scaffold must be built under the supervision of a competent person, and workers must be trained by a qualified person before they use the scaffold. The scaffold and its components should also be checked by a competent person and properly tagged before the start of the shift to ensure its integrity and safety.
Why is Scaffolding Safety Important?
Around 65% of the construction industry work on scaffolds and experience 4,500 injuries and 60 fatalities annually in the United States alone. Scaffolding safety is important because it can help prevent workplace incidents from recurring. With baseline scaffold requirements to keep workers safe such as better inspections, training, and controls, frontline teams can ensure scaffolding safety and be proactive about building a safety culture from the ground up.
OSHA Scaffolding Safety: Who is a Competent and Qualified Person?
According to OSHA, a competent person is “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.” This is typically someone who holds a scaffolding high-risk work license.
While a qualified person is one who “has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” A qualified person has the right background such as education or degree in designing safe scaffolding, for example, this could be someone from the scaffold manufacturer or trained scaffold engineer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that 72% of scaffold injuries were due to scaffold planking or support giving way, slips, or falling objects. With regular inspections performed by a competent person, adequate scaffold safety training provided by a qualified person, and compliance with local regulatory standards, these dangers can be controlled.
Working on raised scaffolding can be very serious or dangerous whenever the proper safety precautions are not sustained or maintained.
However, when the safety protocols & practices are correctly followed, working on these structures can be just as safe as any additional or other elevated construction technique or way. Let’s have a look at the ten scaffolding safety tips, and how they keep you safe while working.
Get the right training.
New safety regulations mandate that all workers who will be working on or near scaffolding be suitably trained and educated on how the scaffolds are invented and performed. This includes how to get on and off of the scaffolding safely, how to prevent falls and how to respond to emergency situations while on the scaffolding.
This type of training is necessary to keep not only yourself but everyone else on and below the scaffolding secure & safe at all times.
Always ensure that you are inspecting scaffolding thoroughly before using it. Check to make sure the base is secured, and that it is level and adjusted for any lean in the building & Make sure that every single guardrail and plank is installed or fitted safely and securely, and also look out for elevation changes, obstructions (such as wires), and weather conditions.
Ensure everyone is licensed
OSHA (Occupational Safety And Health Administration) has claimed that rogue employers are a significant risk when it comes to working on scaffolding. These employers are unlicensed to be working but do so.
Rather than go through the proper channels and become licensed, they throw together a pick-up truck, some workers, and uninspected building material. Not only does this put the workers in danger, but it also puts the future occupants of the building in danger as well.
Understanding load capacity
During the design stages of scaffolding, one of the leading mistakes that are made is failing to consider all of the different types of load that the material will be under during construction and setup.
To maximize the safety of everyone involved, do not attempt to overload the scaffolding with more workers than it is rated for to save time. Also, take care to ensure that equipment does not overload it and that nothing is pushing against any guardrails. ( Learn What are the types of scaffolds load ).
Secure the platform
Scaffolding is designed to be braced by or entirely attached to a building. If bracing isn’t adequately secured, scaffold movement may dislodge an end, which will reduce the stability of the scaffold. There are a few types of brace retention or locking systems on scaffolding.
These systems need to operate freely during assembly and dismantling, and also be able to secure or lock to prevent the brace from dislodging. You shouldn’t try and replace the proper parts supplied by the manufacturer with nails or other miscellaneous substitutions.
Take advantage of guardrails.
When taking the design of the scaffold into account, a construction company must assure that any scaffolding over 10 feet high has guardrails on the three sides facing apart from the building, at the very slightest.
The side facing the building is still the danger, so it is recommended to have them there as well. Guardrails should not be observed as a replacement for right fall protection gear, which should be worn at all times while on the scaffolding.
Scaffolding structures need to be constantly maintained and inspected to retain their structural integrity and safety. Someone knowledgeable about the construction of the scaffolds themselves needs to examine the structure to ensure that it is still functional and safe, making sure that boards are all still intact and that all of the components are still in good shape. Failure to keep these crucial components regularly maintained could lead to extremely hazardous conditions.( Download scaffold-register-and-inspection-checklist/)
Keep things organized
Scaffolding structures are notoriously cramped, so it is essential that tools are not left out and are put up neatly on the scaffolding itself. Keep all of the walkways free of obstructions and trash that might be able to cause a fall.
Scaffolding must be perfectly level to minimize the risk that workers can fall off and be injured or killed. Still, stay alert when on a scaffold, and watch your balance at all times.
Use protection, or PPE
This can include things like head protection, fall prevention gear, and non-slip footwear. It is essential to wear these measures at all times to maximize your safety and the safety of all who are around you.
If these safety tips are followed, then you or your workers should have no problem operating on scaffolds to complete the job.
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