What Are The Most Important Things That You Should Remember When Putting Up Scaffolding?

September 28, 2015

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Scaffolding is a temporarily-erected platform which offers a safer alternative for working at heights than ladders. It provides a secure elevated work area for workers and tools. The most commonly-used modular support platform is erected, used, and dismantled and removed to another location for reuse. Fixed scaffolds may be left in place for long periods. Platforms are rated (light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty) according to the allowable load and width (2-plank, 4-plank, more, etc.).

Scaffold Types

Scaffold types, in addition to the typical supported / prefabricated kind, each require a specific scaffold erection / set-up, use, alteration, and removal process:

  • Supported, modular, frame, or prefabricated (most commonly-used) built from the ground-up,
  • Suspended / swing-stage (from a roof of other tall structure),
  • Rolling / Mobile (a supported type platform mounted on locking wheels for moving it distances),
  • Tubular or coupler (steel / aluminum tubing connected using couplers for strength), and
  • Aerial lift (bucket or platform that raises and lowers workers to access multiple levels).

Erecting Scaffolds

There are prescribed methods for erecting scaffolds so workers do not fall or risk being struck by falling scaffold elements, tools, or the entire scaffold, should it collapse during erection, alteration, use, or dismantling. The following are safe work practices for erecting scaffolds:

  1. Securely tightened scaffold safety fittings according to the scaffolding plan.
  2. Install scaffold components such as ties, bracing, guy ropes, etc. as the structure is erected.
  3. Use specifically-designed loading platforms / back propping so the building floor / scaffold is not overloaded.
  4. A competent person must certify the erection of scaffolds on awnings.
  5. Minimize the number of workers on the scaffold at any given time.
  6. Allocate specifically-sequenced tasks to each scaffolder.
  7. Work from a full deck of planks and never climb on guardrails.
  8. Edge protection and additional scaffold planks must be installed when the internal gaps exceed 225 mm.
  9. When sufficient first-level scaffold support components are in place, install:
    • a full-length 450 mm-wide platform,
    • edge protection across the space between uprights, and
    • temporary access to the first level of scaffold.
  10. Install a platform less than 2 meters below the first scaffold level before the next level is erected (allow an opening to pass scaffold components between levels). No platform needs to be installed on the bottom scaffold level.

Dismantling

The scaffold should be dismantled section by section as it was erected. Scaffolding

components and elements must not be allowed to drop at any time. Edge protection and accesses may be removed as the scaffold is dismantled. A minimum 450 mm-wide platform should be kept in place at the level the dismantling has reached. The platform below the worker’s level must have a full-width set of planks across it, no lower than 2 meters.

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