Safety is always a top priority when working at tall heights. Scaffolding can present numerous hazards, especially if it isn’t properly put together or if specific safety protocols aren’t followed.
Companies that follow the safety guidelines detailed below should prevent most accidents and injuries resulting from working at certain heights.
With the most common hazards in mind, we can take a look at the types of safety standards employees and managers should generally follow.
Know local regulations : First off, it’s important to be familiar with local regulations and laws. Each state and city has its own laws governing scaffold safety, and OSHA itself has a set of universal safety rules. Knowing and following these rules is key to preventing serious injury while working on scaffolding systems.
Note potential hazards : Constant vigilance is vital when working at height, and it’s important to inspect the area and equipment for potential hazards. The work area, tools, and scaffolding structure itself all need to be examined at frequent intervals to prevent hazards from going unnoticed.
Also, any time a change in the work area or scaffolding occurs, the structure should be reexamined.
Oversight from a competent person: Any time you build, move, or dismantle a scaffold, you need to have a competent person present to supervise the process. This person should perform daily inspections to check for flaws, hazards, or other issues.
Install proper guards: Guard rails, toe boards, barricades, and other guards can prevent falls or injuries from falling objects. Note that ladders or stairs should also be installed and that rails or poles are not to be used to ascend or descend the structure.
Respect load limits: Scaffolding designs and materials should account for the types of materials and equipment that will be present on the structure. Bringing too much weight onto a given platform can cause it to collapse.
Use consistent parts: When constructing a scaffold, use components that are specifically designed to be compatible. Mixing and matching parts from different manufacturers or those that are built for different loads can compromise the entire structure, leading to a collapse and/or injury.