How Often Should Scaffolding Be Inspected and Checked for Safety?

January 15, 2019

There's a simple answer to this question, and there's a not-so-simple answer. Let's clarify that vague opening statement a little. A periodic inspection is mandated. The checks look for impact damage, fastener and anchoring loosening, and external hazards. And this isn't just a cursory look, a visual check. No, the scaffolding undergoes a stringently implemented examination. This is a hands-on job, and it must be done properly.

Expandable Scheduled Maintenance Systems

The scheduled checks are run along several different timescales. First on the agenda, there are daily checks to conduct. A maintenance officer, a duly declared competent person, visually inspects the ground conditions. From here, the staging examination looks for obvious signs of damage. A hands-on check for loose fasteners takes the maintenance team deeper into the framework. Are the fall-safety measures operational? Handrails, toe boards, and ladders, all personnel protection systems are checked and ticked off on a form as operational. If a problem is picked up, it's marked and remedied before the workers are allowed access to the scaffolding. Expanding on this system, weekly hands-on checks and monthly inspections go deeper. Weekly inspections are the norm. As long as the scaffolding is erected, a 7-day inspection period guards against unforeseen system alterations.

Beyond The Seven Day Period

The 7-day inspection works in tandem with a post-installation checkup to establish a safety-assured baseline. If a worker or an external influence alters that baseline, the weekly check or the daily visual inspection steps in to pick up the defect. As for more exhaustive inspections, they're reserved for when the kit is disassembled and transported back to its storage shed. In this controlled locale, inspection teams can examine every nick and scratch, then replace a damaged component as the lead inspector requires. It's also here that major repairs, coatings touch-ups, and fastener disassembling work can be carried out without endangering anyone. Now, having covered the simple answer, as touched upon when we started this post, let's delve into the not-so-simple response.

That's right, there are inspections that occur outside the recommended periods. If an accident occurred and the equipment was impacted in some manner, it'll need to be inspected before it can enter service again. For external influences, picture a strong wind. It rises overnight, and it's gone before the workers arrive. The scaffolding probably looks just fine, mostly because it was expertly erected. All the same, a cross member may have shifted, or a parts anchor could be dangerously loose. A hands-on inspection will need to be carried out after a windy day, or, for that matter, after any big weather event.

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