Are you about to embark on a job that requires the use of scaffolding? While it is estimated that about 65% of all construction jobs require the use of scaffolding, it should come as no surprise to learn that the improper use of scaffolding can lead to serious injury or even death. Yes, thousands of builders are injured every year as a result of scaffolding failures, and if you don’t follow the necessary steps to keep yourself and your employees safe from harm’s way, you could be slapped with a hefty fine of up to R50 000, or even worse, spend up to a year in jail. With that said, here are three scaffolding safety tips every business or homeowner should know:
#1 Evaluate and Inspect the Scaffolding Site Each Day for Hazards
Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support workers and aid in the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings and other structures, and working with scaffolding can be incredibly dangerous if not used correctly. Firstly, begin your project by evaluating the worksite so you can identify any hazards. Secondly, ensure that you are not near any powerlines to prevent electrocution. Also, keep in mind that workers often get comfortable on the first day of the job, which can easily lead to serious injuries on day two. To prevent accidents, run through your checklist carefully each morning before the day begins.
#2 A Basic Understanding of Working with Scaffolding is Critical
Just like all aspects of a construction site, ensure that you and your workers are well-versed in all the basics of building with scaffolding. You need to guarantee a rig that will not collapse when workers are building or painting, which is why there are certain regulations that must be understood and followed. For instance, it is important to understand how to set up and construct the scaffolding, as well as stick to the load limits. To ensure worker safety, never overload the scaffolding with more workers than what it specifies, just to save time.
In addition to overloading, if the scaffolding is over 3 m high, ensure that guardrails are in place, behind, in front, and on the sides, and make sure not to skimp on protective gear. Just because you have guardrails, it does not mean your workers are safe. To ensure that you meet the necessary construction regulations, your workers must be fitted with protective gear, such as head protection, fall-prevention gear, and non-slip footwear. One of the leading causes of scaffolding mishaps is tripping over things that should not be on the platform so, to avoid such mishaps, it is best to keep all the platforms and walkways free of tools and materials that might be able to trip someone up.
#3 Never Compromise Speed for Safety Just to Save Money
Last but not least, never rush a construction job when working on scaffolding. It is no secret that time is money in the construction industry, but focus on safety first, instead of time and budget; efficiency always follows. At the end of the day, lives matter, so make sure that safety is not compromised. As mentioned above, hefty fines and even jailtime are realities, following accidents in this industry, so rather respect regulations to ensure safe and efficient working methods are being used.
If the above safety tips are followed, you and your workers should have no problem completing the job safely and on time. However, if you are a business or DIY homeowner looking to learn more about working with scaffolding, chat to the team at Caslad. As one of the leading suppliers of construction equipment in South Africa, we have everything you need to ensure that your job is a huge success.