Scaffolds are integral parts of most construction sites, but just because workers use them day in and day out does not mean that they’re using them safely. In fact, even workers who have been thoroughly trained on scaffold safety may become complacent over time and forget to pay attention to the most important details that will keep them safe and prevent them from getting hurt.
For this reason, it’s always a good time for construction supervisors and construction workers to review their scaffold safety plans. When doing so, you should also remind yourself and any workers who are using a scaffold of the following six safety tips:
Inspect, inspect, inspect: Every day that a worker uses a scaffold, he or she should check to make sure there isn’t something wrong with the scaffold. Check for broken parts, worn out fittings, wobbly nuts and safety equipment that may need to be replaced or repaired. If there’s anything wrong, don’t use the scaffold until the issue is corrected.
Prevent fall risks: Using fall protection and harness features of the scaffold is vital. The scaffold should also be equipped with guardrails to decrease the risk of falls.
Check the tie-downs: Workers should always anchor the scaffold securely to the building that’s being worked on. This will help keep the scaffold stabilized and lessen the risks of a collapse.
Don’t leave objects loose on the scaffold: Not only do workers need to worry about themselves and the potential tripping hazards associated with leaving loose objects on the scaffold, but loose objects could also fall on people below the scaffold. Keep all objects secure to prevent flying debris and falling tool injuries.
Use windscreens for higher scaffolds: Workers can actually get blown right off a scaffold when winds are above 25 mph. It’s not uncommon for winds to reach these speeds when scaffolds are high. The combination of windscreens and personal fall protection systems is a great way to prevent wind-related falls.
Stay away from power lines: Scaffolds should be erected with at least 10 feet of distance from power lines to avoid electrocutions.
Know the weight limits of your scaffold: Workers must take care not to exceed the weight limit on a scaffold. Exceeding the weight limit could result in an unexpected collapse.