Not a single construction site in the world is 100% safe, regardless of what the relevant authorities promise us. Scaffolding accidents can and do happen and they catch not just construction workers off guard, but also innocent passersby. Usually, a scaffolding structure is very high and quite unstable, even if they are supported by a structure. This is because they have been designed to be in place for a short period of time only. This is why it is extra important that everybody on and around the scaffolding is properly protected.
There are two important practices to keep in mind with scaffolding. Those are:
- Avoiding misuse of the structure.
- Setting the structure up in a stable location.
The latter is perhaps the most important of the two. It is vital, therefore, that everybody who uses the structure always checks that it is stable before they get on the scaffolding and start work.
Every scaffolding structure is made up of different parts. The ones you tend to see are the platforms, frames, supports and brackets. Each of these has to be checked by workers to make sure there are no dents or rust on it. Dents and rust can harm the entire structure’s integrity, meaning it can no longer carry its load and could potentially collapse. Additionally, the wood has to be checked before each usage to make sure it is not cracked or infested with termites.
Scaffolding accidents are almost always avoidable, so long as each part of the tower is used properly. Workers should always make sure that they do not overload the tower. This means that they have to leave anything they do not directly need on the ground, because these things all add to the total weight of the tower. Only the tools and materials that are needed should be taken up onto the structure.
There are also a number of things that construction workers should remember when they start to climb the tower. First of all, they should always stand on a part that is completely stable and is able to carry the worker’s weight, plus the weight of anything they are carrying with them. Secondly, they must hold on with a support with at least one hand. This support can be a hanging rope or a nearby pole, for instance. The other hand can be used for the job at hand.
Sometimes, scaffolding accidents are caused by bad weather. This is something construction workers must be aware of. This is why they must always wear the right personal protective equipment such as non-slip boots and protective gloves. If a surface feels slippery, workers should scatter sand on it to prevent them from slipping. And if they don’t feel safe because of the weather, they should simply not use the tower. Strong winds are particularly dangerous when working on scaffolding, as is lightning. If either occurs, the structure should not be used.
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