In the construction industry there exists a well-known three-pronged approach to scaffolding safety practices. The first factor that needs to be taken into consideration when judging scaffolding safety is whether or not the scaffold itself has been erected in accordance with specific scaffolding safety protocols. The second policy against which safety standards can be measured when working at height is the use of the appropriate protective apparel and apparatus. Lastly, whether a company or employee is working safely at height is determined by judging the company or individual’s adherence to existing guidelines for working safely at heights.
Safely erecting scaffolding
A secured scaffold is a safe scaffold. Many scaffolding accidents, and accidents related to working at heights, are easily avoidable by adequately bracing scaffolding against a building or tying it in place. The use of double guardrails is advised wherever possible. If at any point guardrails need to be removed in order to facilitate the hoisting of equipment or tools; replace the guardrails as soon as possible and ensure all personnel don the necessary fall-safety apparel.
Protective apparel and apparatus
Hard hats are a standard requirement on all construction sites using scaffolding; always wear yours. Shoes with non-slip soles are vital to scaffolding safety and the safety of any employee working at height. When working on swinging scaffolds, or at significant height, a safety harness is always recommended and in most instances required by law. Always ensure that this safety harness is attached to a secure line or to a permanent structure such as the building, and NOT to the scaffolding itself. Falling object protection should also be a standard installation, for example nets to catch dropped tools and protect those working below the scaffolding.
Adherence to safety protocols for working at heights
It is vital that all employees be educated and informed about scaffolding safety protocols. Additionally all sites at which scaffolding is present must comply with national scaffolding safety standards.
Basic Tips for scaffold safety:
- Put sand on the boards of scaffolding when working in bad weather to prevent slipping.
- Respect the weight-limit of any given part of the scaffolding structure at all times; failure to do so will put you and your co-workers at risk for serious injury.
- Always clean up behind yourself. Remove all tools and miscellaneous debris at the end of every shift in order to prevent tripping on forgotten tools and subsequent injury.
By adhering to scaffolding safety protocols and instituting personal scaffolding safety strategies within your business, it is possible to enjoy peace of mind; even when working at heights.