The Do’s and Don’ts of Suspended Scaffolding

August 11, 2016


We see suspended scaffolding hanging from rooftops and overhead supports. They're obviously not as ground-mobile as a scaffolding tower, but that mobility factor does convert efficiently to an aptitude for vertical climbing thanks to the incorporation of one or more cable pulleys. Also, the platform is ground-independent, so no tall towers are required. This means the cable-suspended platform can hang anywhere there's a tall, stable structure. In fact, this alternative scaffolding form is so versatile that it's used in numerous work scenarios, including bridge painting projects and office block window washing. Of course, a hanging platform does require some rather special safety guidelines.

The Do's and Don'ts of Suspended Work

Do always check the mechanical linkages that couple system parts. This is not a wholly mechanical structure, one ruled by sturdy aluminium beams and rigid steel frames, so the safety of the workers relies on a few powered components. With that thought firmly in mind, DO regularly inspect rooftop fastening assemblies, the supports that securely hold the cradle in place. Extend this maintenance check to cover pulleys, motor drive couplers, and cable integrity.

Next, let's touch upon some of the DO not's. A suspended cradle is weighted to cancel swing, the pendulous action that could cause catastrophic accidents. Don't introduce any bodily motion that will reinforce pendular momentum. Similarly, DON'T load the platform with construction materials that could spill and throw off the balanced platform. Weighting is an essential consideration in this case, so all loaded tools and materials must be distributed properly and fixed in place when at all possible. That last constraining instruction leads us nicely on to the next limitation, which is to never overload a suspended cradle, as this daring mechanism hangs literally on a few cables.

The Transitioning of Safety Training

The fact does hold that this at-height operating method does turn temporary scaffolding engineering on its head, but there are still similarities between a standard erection and a hanging cradle. Do inspect the core stability systems. This would be the outriggers and locked castors on a tower, but it becomes a rooftop anchoring system in suspended scaffolding. Additionally, and this next feature doesn't ordinarily form part of an erected tower, check the installed counterweights to ensure they correspond to the daily load factor.

Stability and supporting muscle partner to create the backbone of this hanging work platform. Inspect cables, drive systems, anchoring components, and counterweights to ensure both of these system attributes are continually reinforced.

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