For most people scaffolding conjures up images of noisy construction sites and with hard hats, but even if you have never seen scaffolding before, you will probably have come across it at some point in your life. It’s very common to see steel scaffolding north wales on construction sites, but did you know that scaffolding has become so normalised that many people don’t think about the safety hazards involved with using it? Here we look at some of the dangers associated with scaffolding and how to avoid them.
Understanding the Risks Involved
The first major risk with scaffolding is that it can be very difficult to navigate. The danger often goes unnoticed because most construction workers are familiar with navigating and using scaffold, but in reality, if you don’t know where you’re going and how to get there on a platform high off of ground level, you can easily become disoriented and lose your balance. This is one of many reasons why scaffold needs to be properly maintained and inspected regularly by professionals who understand its ins-and-outs.
Types of Risks
The risks and dangers posed by work at height are numerous. Falls from heights and collapses from scaffolds are serious concerns for every construction worker, but it’s not just these events that you need to worry about. Injuries related to overuse can also be serious problems for workers, as well as heat-related illnesses. Before you head out on a job, it’s important to understand all of these risks so that you can identify them in time to prevent them. Many people get hurt or even killed in construction accidents that could have been prevented had someone only known about the risks involved with working at height.
The Risk Management Process
Scaffolding is used to help workers with difficult or dangerous tasks; in many cases, it is an important part of safety measures. But it’s important to remember that a scaffold is just a tool and all tools have limitations—in fact, that’s what makes them so effective. Proper risk management involves knowing when and how to use scaffold and understanding exactly what you’re getting out of its use.
Step 1 – Hazard Identification
A scaffold needs to be inspected on a daily basis. The standard procedures for inspection need to be followed, and safety equipment will also need to be worn at all times. If you think that a dangerous situation is developing, then you should notify your supervisor immediately so that he or she can review it with you and make any changes necessary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to working at height.
Step 2 – Risk Assessment
While scaffolding can provide a great boost in height, it comes with risks that need to be assessed and mitigated against. Typically, scaffold is used for 6 to 8 weeks before being disassembled and taken away, meaning any project longer than that will require extra precautions.
Step 3 – Implement Control Measures
If you’re going to work on a high-rise construction site, your employer has a duty to ensure you are protected. This duty extends far beyond wearing hard hats and putting up scaffolding. While much is written about how to prevent accidents, it can also be useful to know what can happen if something goes wrong
Step 4 – Inspection and Testing
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that a scaffold must be inspected each day before use. A good rule of thumb is to walk around it, step on all rungs, check for loose bolts or fasteners, and make sure any joints are secure. The OSHA regulations also state that a scaffold should be subjected to a load test at least once per year by applying a uniform load equivalent to four times its maximum intended load.