Birdcage Scaffolding Safety FeaturesSeptember 26, 2018
To review the structural form, birdcage scaffolding erects as a mass of independently supported metal standards. The staging is dimensionally consistent in all directions, with evenly spaced gaps separating the gridwork. On top of the ledgers and transoms, standards and cross-braces, a platform tops off the temporary construct. Clearly designed for loftier work applications, birdcage staging can't be deemed a work-safe environment, not without a comprehensive set of purpose-enhanced safety features.
Instituting Birdcage-centric Risk Control Measures
On seeing birdcage scaffolding fully assembled and just about to be put to use, a safety checklist is consulted. It's been checked twice already, but the nature of the work has encouraged the competent person to scan the list one more time. This is a large mall thoroughfare or a church hall. No, it's a theatre, a public hall, or maybe it's a large factory floor. Whatever the location, that tower is standing in the midst of a lot of activity, and it's not near a single wall or support surface. Consult and determine the following:
- Is the floor flat and stable?
- Are all components undamaged and properly installed?
- Do align and secure the boards on the platform
- Always install additional guardrails and toeboards
The Big Space Dilemma
Like a concert stage, there's plenty of open space at the top of a birdcage tower. Unfortunately, that extra room is a safety risk. For starters, as workers move inwards, the central zone of the platform begins to feel less stable. To counteract this effect, erection experts fit additional transoms on intermediate levels. Now, when crossing the platform, from the central ladder access point to staging perimeter, the platform properly safely supports the weight of all moving workers. Just to double-protect that safety zone, workers should always wear safety harnesses, even when they safely reach the perimeter of the platform. Again, because all four walls are exposed to open space, those additional handrails and toe guards are essential.
Lastly, there's one other type of birdcage scaffolding in use today. Rolling scaffolding helps workers to install fixtures and fittings on ceilings, but it's mounted on a robust set of castors, which roll forward so that the staging can be set up for the workers on another part of that ceiling. Imagine a long, high shopping centre corridor using this layout. Lighter than regular birdcage scaffolding, this mobile tower cannot be allowed to move until all tools and building materials have been removed. Then, with personnel and tools safely on the ground, the rolling tower is slowly relocated.
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