Workplace accidents and deaths can be attributed to a number of factors, but in many instances they are the result of poor use of scaffoldings from builders.
When a project is pressured to be delivered on time and within budget, operators can easily engage in oversight to open up the possibility of falls, slips and collapses taking place.
Solutions have to be sourced proactively and ahead of time, ensuring that these painful and costly incidents are avoided.
Here we will look at those solutions in more detail, protecting the integrity of scaffoldings and allowing the professionals to do what they do best – their job.
Regular Inspection Checks
The first solution that builders use to maximise the value and safety of scaffoldings is running regular inspection checks on the structures. Regardless of the type of material that is used, from hardwoods, bamboo and metals to steel or synthetics, there can be internal and external factors that threaten the integrity of the item. A trained peer who understands the parameters of inspecting the product should be running these assessments before, during and after the conclusion of each day’s work. This will minimise the window of any accidents taking place and removing oversight from the equation.
Adhering To Weight Load Parameters
The weight loading parameters listed on scaffoldings are not rough guidelines – they are strict benchmarks that must be adhered to in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of workers. In many instances this loading is considered in relation to the weight of the participants, but there are many other elements that come into play in this category. From the inclusion of power tools, buckets, debris and other types of equipment, this weighting can be pressured when the planks are buckling trying to hold all of these goods and its workers together.
Avoiding Electrical Interference
Whilst it is fundamental for operators to have a fall protection measure like a harness for scaffoldings at a modest height and above, these structures have to be designed with electrical interference in mind. This will be one of the first domains that an inspector will examine, keeping a comfortable distance from any power lines that could cause an electrocution. Especially when surrounded by power tools and inclement weather conditions, the damage that can result from an exposed power line or box could be fatal for participants in close proximity.
Clear Entry and Exit Points of Access
Builders should be under no confusion when it comes to the entry and exit points with scaffoldings. With the inclusion of appropriate stairwells and ladders that allows operators to enter the worksite and exit efficiently, these domains should be clearly marked and positioned away from interfering obstacles. Many problems occur in these environments when those obstacles are not calculated ahead of time or there is a bottleneck effect where professionals wanting to enter and exit attempt their movement at the same time. This should be negated with clear communication and even the inclusion of entry only and exit only points to avoid that cluster of bodies in a tight and confined space.
Trained Operators Only
If members of staff are not correctly or adequately trained with the use of scaffoldings, they have no place being in close proximity to these structures. To be part of a building team, professionals will need to pass their industry specific tests to be recognised by the local association. Issues can occur with individuals partaking in an apprenticeship, needing to be educated and trained on site. Even in these instances they should be run through a training program to understand what hazards are involved and what constitutes good practice.