Scaffolding 101: Basic Safety Checks
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Scaffolding 101: Basic Safety Checks

Scaffolding is a job that should always be left to the professionals. If you need scaffolding erected for a particular job you will need to be aware of some basics.

Always make sure that your scaffolding company is a registered company and that they employ a competent, properly trained workforce.

Basic checks that you can make to minimise any risks include:

* Checking the ground conditions. E.g. Is the foundation firm, and not soft? If scaffolding is erected on frozen ground, this might melt and begin to sink.

* Is the scaffold level and supported on proper adjustable stands.

* If it is a rolling scaffold, are the castors locked?

* Any scaffolding should be able to support up to four times its intended load.

* The platform will need to be complete front to back and side to side. Any planking or decking must not have gaps greater than 25mm (1”).

* Toe boards and guardrails must be positioned on all open sides.

* All sections of scaffolding must be secured or pinned appropriately.

* Safe access to the scaffolding must be provided which avoid the need to climb over cross bracing. This may be a properly secured ladder.

* The front face of any scaffolding needs to be 350mm (14”) from the workface.

* Electrical wires must be given the appropriate electrical safety clearance.

* All scaffolding must be inspected by a competent person before being used.

* If the scaffolding is over 3m (10’) high, personal fall protection should be provided or the scaffold should have handrails over 950mm (38”) high.

* Anyone working in the vicinity of the scaffolding or on the scaffolding must wear a hard hat (in the UK it is compulsory to provide head protection/ hard hats on any site).

* Scaffolding must be kept clear whenever possible and tools and equipment removed at night or when the scaffolding is not in use.

* Do not use scaffolding in adverse weather conditions like high winds or snow etc.

* If it is a rolling scaffold, employees must never be allowed to remain on the scaffold when it is being moved.

* A hoist should be provided to haul heavy tools and equipment up the scaffold.

Remember – these are only guidelines and are not infallible. Take time to familiarise yourself with local and federal laws. Use only qualified scaffolding companies who will be able to advise you.

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Comments (3)

Hi, I found your article to be thorough, interesting and informative. Your article brings more awareness to readers on scaffolding. thanks, Vincent

Scaffold Safety

A very detailed article on a very important subject. I put your site in my favorites ;) Thanks

I appreciate people who take the time to put together a well thought out informative article. I now have a much better understanding regarding scaffolding. I appreciate the basic check list you included as well. It is so helpful to have it broken down. Thanks for the share!