Working at height can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. In fact, scaffolding-related accidents account for a large number of injuries in the construction industry every year.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), around 4,500 scaffolding-related injuries occur annually, which results in a whopping $90 million worth of lost workdays and other associated costs such as increased insurance premiums and potential fines.
Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable with a bit of preparation. In this article, we will discuss ten important scaffolding safety tips, as well as essential do’s and don’ts that will help keep you safe while working on scaffolds.
What is Scaffolding Safety?
Scaffolding safety is a combination of practices and safety procedures that aim to prevent scaffolding-related accidents. These accidents can occur due to several reasons, such as falls, electrocution, being struck by falling objects, and more.
To avoid these accidents, employers need to provide adequate training and orientation on scaffolding safety procedures to their workers. Additionally, workers should be aware of the potential hazards associated with working on scaffolds and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
Scaffolding Safety Do’s and Don’ts
It’s important to control potential hazards when working on a scaffold. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of scaffolding safety do’s and don’ts to help keep you safe while working on scaffolds.
Scaffolding Safety DO’s:
- DO provide proper training and orientation.
- DO inspect the scaffolding using a checklist or inspection app before the work shift to ensure it’s safe and in proper working condition.
- DO conduct a toolbox talk before beginning work.
- DO wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- DO know the weight capacity of the scaffold.
- DO check inspection tags regularly.
- DO level the scaffold after each move. Leg screws should not extend more than 12 inches.
- DO have a handhold positioned above the scaffold.
- DO use the ladder safety when climbing the cross braces for scaffold access.
- DO stay off the scaffold during loading and unloading.
- DO follow the manufacturer’s manual containing instructions when erecting the scaffold; this process should be under the direct supervision of a qualified and competent person.
- DO ensure planking is secured or overlapping from movement.
- DO use the debris chutes or lower things via house or by hand.
- DO be mindful of their coworkers working above and below their respective platforms at all times; the same goes with others working on the scaffold.
- DO use lanyards and safety belts when working at ten feet above ground level. Attach the safety belt and lanyard to a certain part of the scaffold.
- DO use netting to catch anything that might fall from above.
Scaffolding Safety DON’Ts:
- DON’T leave anything on the scaffold after using it.
- DON’T overload the scaffold.
- DON’T use unstable objects such as boxes, barrels, concrete blocks, or loose bricks to support scaffolds or increase your work height or planks.
- DON’T stand on ties, extensions, or guardrails.
- DON’T use the scaffold if it appears unstable or damaged, if components are missing, such as guardrails, planking, debris nets, protective canopies, or toeboards.
- DON’T walk on scaffold planking covered in mud, ice, or snow.
- DON’T use a scaffold during bad weather (e.g., heavy rain or snow, strong winds, or sleet.
- DON’T climb or step on any portion of the scaffold frame that’s not intended for climbing or stepping.
- DON’T climb with any materials or tools in your hand; instead, they should be hoisted up to the scaffold separately.
- DON’T lean out of the guardrails.
- DON’T jump from or between scaffolding frames.
- DON’T throw anything overboard unless a spotter is available.
- DON’T move a mobile scaffold when in use, especially if anyone is on it.
- DON’T rock the scaffold when in use.
10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips
Safety is always a top concern when working at height—especially in the construction industry. That’s why it’s essential to enforce scaffolding safety procedures to avoid potential accidents. Here are ten scaffolding safety tips to keep in mind:
Use Proper Safety Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial when working on scaffolding. This includes gloves, hard hats, safety glasses or goggles, and respiratory protection.
Inspect the Scaffold Regularly
Before each work shift, conduct a thorough inspection of the scaffolding using a checklist or inspection app. Be sure to check for any damage, loose connections, or other potential hazards.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions
When erecting scaffolding, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. A qualified and competent person should supervise this process.
Be Wary of Load Limits
Scaffolds have weight limits for a reason—exceeding them can lead to collapse. So be sure to check the load limit for your specific scaffold and never exceed it.
Keep the Work Area Clear
Scaffolds can be cluttered and dangerous places—be sure to keep the work area clear of debris, tools, and other materials.
When working on scaffolding, it’s important to stay organized and keep track of your tools and materials. This will help you avoid trip hazards and other potential accidents.
Get Proper Licensing
If you’re working on scaffolding in a public place, you’ll need to get the proper licensing from the local authorities. If you’re working with contractors, make sure they have proper licensing to work in the area.
Be Mindful of the Weather
When working on scaffolding, always be mindful of the weather conditions. Strong winds, heavy rain or snow, and other severe weather conditions can seriously threaten scaffolding stability.
Have a Safety Plan
Always have a safety plan in place in case of an accident. This plan should include emergency numbers, evacuation procedures, and first aid protocols.
The best way to ensure worker safety when using scaffolding is by conducting inspections and using checklists to ensure that all safety procedures are being followed. DATAMYTE and its Digital Clipboard software can help you in that regard!
As a workflow automation software, the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can create workflows, checklists, smart forms, and even software that will help you conduct relevant safety inspections and follow all safety procedures for scaffolding—and much more!
To learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can improve worker safety in your company, contact us today! The DATAMYTE team will answer any of your questions.
By following these scaffolding safety tips, you can help keep your employees safe and avoid potential accidents. Remember, safety is always a top priority when working at height. So be sure to follow these tips and always use proper safety equipment. And if you’re ever in doubt, consult a qualified professional.
Also, don’t forget to try the DataMyte Digital Clipboard for all your safety needs! It’s a great tool that can help you stay organized and conduct inspections quickly and easily.