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While scaffolding is safe when erected properly and used in the right way, there are still many accidents that can occur if you or your crew aren't careful. Here's how to avoid the most common mistakes and accidents that can come from improper use of scaffolding.
Falls are the most common accidents that occur with scaffolding, but there are other potential hazards.
Identifying and mitigating the possibility of any of these hazards is one of the most important aspects of using scaffolding.
Whether it's just you or a full team, everybody needs to know how to maneuver when on or around scaffolding. It's imperative you and everybody else have the required OSHA training. That includes retraining as well.
Training must come from someone knowledgeable about scaffold use and hazards. Training should cover all the following:
Potential electrical, fall and falling-object hazards
Proper procedures for dealing with hazards
Proper use of fall protection and other safety systems
Proper handling and use of scaffolding materials
Load capacities of scaffolding materials
You may require additional training depending on the type of scaffolding you use. You and your team will also require extra training if you're the ones erecting, moving, setting up or tearing down the scaffolding. This also applies to scaffolding maintenance and inspections.
As stated, falls are the most common occurrence. Because of that, fall prevention and protection should represent one of your highest priorities. Fall protection requires you have the proper gear for yourself or your crew. It also means you and others have to know how to access the scaffolding.
You will also need to make sure guardrails are in place and every other protection that can prevent someone from slipping or falling. Don't skip any part of this step.
Fall protection also applies to protection from falling objects. Proper gear and training can help keep the possibility of things falling to a minimum. And if debris or materials should happen to fall, having the proper gear can go a long way towards preventing injury.
Hardhats and toeboard can go a long way. Safety netting can help as well. In addition, some training on keeping your scaffolding neat, clean and free of debris will help with fall protection.
One of the most misunderstood hazards of scaffolding comes from the possibility of electrocution. Electrocution can occur when you don't use the right amount of clearance between your scaffolding and power lines. Generally, the higher the voltage present, the larger the required clearance. Always show care when working under overhead lines.
If scaffolding reaches above power lines, then falling object safety can come into play as well. For example, debris or a tool can fall and hit a power line. That power line can drop or electrify something that in turn electrifies the whole scaffolding structure.
Mitigating risks starts with quality scaffolding materials. You should never take shortcuts when it comes to your scaffolding. Whether it's a large construction project or a small paint job, you should always choose a high-quality product.
Badly built scaffolding can lead to collapse. Weak scaffolding may not stand up well to potential accidents. At Advanced Scaffold Solutions, we build to stringent specifications.
We comply with OSHA, ANSI and CSA regulations, which ensures that at least the base scaffolding protections are already in place. We can even build custom scaffolding for unique jobs. Don't open yourself up to dangerous risks and expensive liability. Contact us for all your scaffolding needs.
Advanced Scaffold Solutions