Scaffold Safety Basics: Top 5 Rules You Need to Know
Working on a scaffold is the safest way to perform many jobs at height, but it requires a specialized approach to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Following the basic security protocols reduces the risk of accidents greatly, so it’s imperative for every person working with this type of system directly or indirectly (workers, managers, employers, etc.) to be aware of the safety requirements and understand their responsibilities.
The most basic safety rules that pertain to working on a scaffold are:
- Only properly trained professionals should be allowed to work on a scaffold
Under no circumstances should an untrained person to be allowed to work these structures. Note that this type of education should go beyond the basic safety training as scaffolds pose various risks unique to the structure. The workers need to know exactly how to move on the platform, climb onto and from it, as well as how to use various tools while on it. Any scaffold training must include a special course in fall protection as well as erection and dismantling of the structure.
- Prepare the ground in advance
A correctly conducted preparation will minimise the risk of the scaffold destabilisation and accidents caused by this. Inspect the ground carefully and ensure its level and sound. The condition of the ground will affect the construction of the scaffold as you need to ensure that it is stable. Any obstructions (shrubs, wires, surface elevations), must be removed or ‘worked into’ the scaffold design, in order to ensure that they don’t turn into a hazard. Please note that overhead wires will also need to be removed.
- Keep everything legal
Every person working on a scaffold must be licensed or certified to perform this kind of job. The tools used during this process must be chosen carefully and any rules and regulations of your regional work and health safety departments must be obeyed to the smallest detail.
- Calculate and respect load capacity
A scaffold has a limited load capacity that you must know of before the first person climbs onto it. Ensure that the weight of the workers couples with the weight of their equipment and materials doesn’t exceed this capacity at any point.
- Secure the scaffold correctly
Scaffolds are usually tied or braced to the building. Choose the best technique for every particular case and don’t be hesitant to take some extra steps to secure the structure more thoroughly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to performing such risky jobs.