Ways to Avoid Scaffolding-Related Risks on Construction Sites

January 20, 2020

Decreasing the number of fall hazards on construction sites has been a pressing concern of the industry since time immemorial. Fall hazards are seen to make up around 42 percent of all fatalities in this sector every year. An estimation of around 65 percent of all construction workers have worked on scaffolds for one reason or another each year. It is, therefore, critical to ensure the safety of such workers by determining the ways to avoid scaffolding-related risks on construction sites.

Right Installation

To ensure safe installation of the scaffolding, it is important that it is installed by a “competent” person. A competent person is “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

A competent person is trained and experienced; therefore, he or she must have comprehensive knowledge of the applicable standards, can identify workplace hazards, and has the official mandate to rectify them. He/she is also expected to meet certain additional requirements that may be required by some standards.

Qualified Personnel

Using scaffolds safely entails assembling, moving, dismantling and maintaining them appropriately. Also, all workers using the scaffolding should know the right safety procedures, the correct use of the scaffold, and handling materials when working on it. Both these need can be met through training which can be made mandatory. Training should be modified as and when changes are made to the scaffolding’s structure or the task being performed. It should include identification of electrocution, prevention of hazards resulting from slips, falls, falling objects, procedures to deal with these hazards, handling materials and understanding load capacities. This brings me to the next point.

Load Capacity Awareness

A common mistake that occurs when designing scaffolding is not considering all types of loads that it will have to endure during construction and setup. It is best to ensure that the scaffold is never overloaded or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended load rating as this ensures the safety of everyone present at the site. Also, never overload the scaffolding with equipment or push it against the guardrails. Special care needs to be taken when enclosing scaffolds, either partially or fully. This is crucial because the wind and changes in the weather can increase the load on the scaffolds.

Regular Inspections

Any inspection to facilitate the safe use of scaffolds must begin with an examination of a given work area. In accordance with this, the area should be checked for debris, open wires, depressions and uncovered openings. Necessary measures to mitigate them should be taken.

Safety Equipment

Safety guidelines make it clear that workers at construction sites are required to use fall protection such as a safety harness or a belt connected to a strong, stable structure. These guidelines are to be followed by all workers involved in erecting and working on the scaffolding. Those working under a scaffold or in an area where there is a risk of hazards resulting from falling debris should wear a sturdy hat. Wearing a life vest is a must for workers using scaffolding over water, like in a shipyard. Also, wearing non-slip footwear can help workers stay safe.

Know more about safety standards in scaffolding from C&N Scaffolding Hire Pty Ltd. We focus on ensuring that you receive the best service at the best price without safety being compromised. Our employees are qualified and experienced and our scaffold designs will suit the simplest of house wraps to the most difficult.

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