No construction site can be 100% safe, no matter how hard people try. From time to time, a scaffolding accident will happen, unfortunately, and they always catch those involved off guard. A scaffolding tower tends to be quite high, and they are often unstable. This is because they are built for temporary use. Because of this, however, it is also vital that all safety precautions are adhered to at all times.
Safety Precautions with Scaffolding
There are two elements of particular importance when it comes to scaffolding safety. Those are:
- Avoiding misuse
- Ensuring that the system is stable
Constructions workers must, at all times, ensure that their scaffolding is properly assembled and safe before they use it to work.
A scaffolding tower is made up of various parts. The frames, supports, and brackets are the most visible of those. Every day, inspections need to take place to make sure the metal parts are properly connected and in place. They should be free of rust and dents, because the integrity of the entire device can be compromised because of this. Rusted and dented metal is no longer able to bear the loads it was created for, and this can lead to the entire tower collapsing with people on it. Additionally, the wooden elements of the scaffolding block must be checked, including for termites, cracks, and other signs of damage. If any is found, the tower should not be used until these parts are replaced.
The vast majority of scaffolding accidents could be avoided if it is made sure that the construction is used properly. This also means that workers have to engage in safe behaviors such as not overloading the tower. Hence, any items that have no business being on the tower should remain on the ground. After all, the total weight that the tower can carry must never be exceeded, even if this does mean making more frequent trips up and down the tower.
There are also a few other things that must be kept in mind at all times:
- When ascending the tower, workers should rest on stable parts that are suitable for their weight.
- Workers should always have support with at least one hand, said support being hanging ropes or nearby poles. The other hand should be used to complete a task.
Many scaffolding accidents are caused by bad weather. While it is impossible to control the weather, construction managers should accept that their staff is incapable of working during heavy wind and rain conditions. Workers have a right to be safe, which means they also have the right to refuse work if they deem the weather conditions are unsafe. They should also be provided with the relevant personal protective equipment, including high visibility vests, non slip boots, protective gloves and more. Any slippery surfaces should be scattered with sand so that workers can be safe.
While it is impossible to avoid every accident, the above steps will at least make it less likely for an accident to occur.