For the builder or general contractor, scaffolding is a tool of the trade that makes the work easier by allowing builders access to areas where there are no stairs or entrances on the ground floor. This is the only way to access some higher level building windows and roofing frames. The scaffolding you choose should be sturdy and follow HSE safety requirements to prevent employees from being injured on the job. Here are some facts about the different types of scaffolds and the best safety practices.
The Scaffold Tower
The scaffold tower is one of the most popular choices for scaffolding. The tower is made of galvanized steel framing with wood or heavy-duty aluminium decking. It is free standing and can be put right up to the area where you will be working without using the building for support.
The Hanging Scaffold
The hanging scaffold is similar to those used by window cleaners. They are suspended to a certain height and can be adjusted up or down and are user controlled. These are great for getting in and out of places without blocking walkways and high traffic areas.
The Rolling Scaffold
The rolling scaffold is just as the name implies a scaffold tower on wheels. These towers come in varying heights from 6, 12 and 18 ft. tall with locking castors. The height can be adjusted up or down by two feet. The galvanized cross bars give the scaffold added support and stability.
Safety is a big issue due to the fact that many construction accidents occur with workers using improperly placed scaffolding. The first recommendation is to make sure the scaffolding your company uses is constructed properly and in good condition. Second, you must be sure to place scaffold towers on a flat, level surface.
Non-rolling scaffold are best used on dirt and sod, while rolling towers are better for hard surfaces like concrete. Statistics show that workers spend over 50% of their time working on scaffolds.
Scaffolding should meet HSE standards for safety and workers should wear hard hats and other protective gear. When moving the tower from one place to another, securely lock the wheels and make sure the tower is at least 14 inches from the building surface. Workers should be trained in scaffold safety such as not leaving any tools or objects on scaffolding while moving. Many accidents can be avoided with the proper training and safety implementation.
Extra safety precautions must be used when working at heights above 6 feet tall and by anyone working in a ditch or trench. Insurance companies pay huge amounts of money in Scaffold Compensation claims and worker’s accident claims due to improperly used equipment and worker error.
To maintain the safety of your team, always use equipment the way it is intended and according to the directions. Never use equipment or tools missing parts or guards. Safety is the responsibility of everyone on the team so workers should look out for each other and report safety violations to the supervisor immediately. By purchasing only high quality materials and tools, you are ensuring the safety of every member of the team.